When trying to describe the end to Real Salt Lake's playoff hopes, I run into a pretty significant* issue. Try as I might, I can't seem to find the right metaphor to describe what just happened.
Have we kicked the bucket? Ceased to be? Have we expired and gone to meet our maker?
Maybe the most accurate metaphor, though: Real Salt Lake is a dead parrot.
It feels a little bit like we've been sold 2015 as a season where recovery, improvement, and a rise back to greatness was simply around the corner. It was simply sleeping.
That isn't to blame anyone in particular — and it's certainly not to blame the way the club talks about itself in public media. And it's not to blame anyone for optimism — especially because I've had it in droves through 2015. But we do have to wonder: At what point did 2015 die? Was it truly nailed to a perch — was it pining for the fjords?
There's no room for optimism now. Nor is there really room for holding out hope. The best thing we could hope for is several teams receiving points deductions for fielding ineligible players or something, and even then, I doubt MLS would take that sort of unilateral action.
But let's not blame MLS here. They opened up the playoffs to six teams in each conference, and we still missed out. And let's not blame referees, because while they do have a palpable impact in matches, it's a shared burden on both teams.
So: Who nailed the Real Salt Lake parrot to a perch? Was it MLS? Jason Kreis on his way out the door? Garth Lagerwey on his way out? Jeff Cassar? Craig Waibel? The players? Somebody else entirely?
We won't know today, and we won't know tomorrow. But someday — someday, maybe we will. Until then, Real Salt Lake should probably pick their heads up and focus on CONCACAF Champions League, because if we don't, we'll find more than just an ex-parrot.
(*Not significant at all)