Well. That was a fun one. This time I’m going with some positivity and some realism followed up with a dash of wtf to round things off. You’re welcome.
A good start!
In the first 30 min of the match RSL looked good. Smart passing and good attacking chances,even with a mixed line up, abounded. Honestly, when I saw the lineup I was nervous that it would be yet another slow start where we come out soft and flat in possession. I was really impressed with the shape and movement of this group in those first 30 min as they found space and exploited what the could from Vancouver.
Of course, it could have been better. Holness could have put away his chance from the top of the 18. Yura could have scored the header he had early on. We had the opportunities, but yet again we did not have the finishing touch. Everything about the first goal from Vancouver seemed to suck the life out of the squad--even with how much of a fluke it was. There’s something about the change that happened after that first goal that, I think, says a lot about the 11 players on the field and potentially the mentality of the entire squad. *See below for related hot take.
HOT TAKE: We’re S.A.W.F.T. SAWWWWWWWFT. (If you know, you know)
Really good teams and really consistently good teams find a way to not lose matches. That might be kind of a weird statement but it’s true. Win some, draw some, DON’T LOSE (or lose very few...you get it).
These teams have a few intangible characteristics that are things that you want to see from your team all the time but for some reason so many teams can’t seem to get there. It’s always struck me as interesting when a team like LA “starts slow” drawing a lot of games early, losing here and there, and then all of the sudden out of nowhere they are in first. When you look at teams like that they are resilient on defense and have a knack for scoring late goals to win/draw games.
There’s a steely bravado that emanates from squads that can hold a 0-0 score line for 80+ min only to score a winner week after week. San Jose from a few years ago comes to mind as an example of a team that just couldn’t lose, no matter how hard teams tried. We hate these teams, but we should be trying to be like them to an extent.
RSL this year lack both the resilience and that never say die (damn the quakes for taking the goonies moniker) attitude necessary to string results together and to find a way to win in difficult situations.
I’m not positive that this is something that is a definer for this team. I think we’re tired, both mentally and physically. I think that the schedule has been so congested over the last 10 games (and with what is coming up) that we’re mentally shot. There’s a lot more that goes into that mental exhaustion piece and it’s a case by case basis, but I think we have seen examples of this and we will see more coming in the near future. Whether it’s small mistakes that a player wouldn’t usually make, a player who is normally consistent all of the sudden losing the plot, or an outburst of emotion on the field or off -- they are all signs that it’s all wearing on the team.
There’s a lot of pressure on the starting 11 in this group in particular. Our depth hasn’t been implemented as ideally as most of us would have liked up to this point; sporadically and in bulk rather than rotationally and even then in most of those instances the starters have had to come in to try and clean things up at some point.
The pressure to keep things rolling after such a good start may also be a factor here. I know both fans and the club have pressed for continued success after such a mediocre 2015 and there’s something to be said about how much energy the guys are expending going after some redemption.
This problem can be solved and I hope that it can be soon. We need a change, a breath of fresh air. A new signing can help us out, better more consistent (read: 1-2 players here and there) rotation can help. Maybe a change in approach from the coaching/training staff could help. The point is that it is completely doable and there’s still enough games left that we can make up for the points dropped in this stretch with just a few solid wins.
I’m rambling now. It’s late and I can’t sleep after that one.
I guess the best way to wrap this up is to say that the problem is really that we haven’t tried wearing the blue short with our red kits yet and it’s time we classed it up a bit/changed it up a bit to see if that’s been the problem.