When I think about it and look at the match today I can’t help but think that nothing has really changed just yet. What we saw today from Shore was almost exactly what Cassar would have done given the team that he had available to him thanks to injuries and international absences.
The substitutions were what I wanted and not what I expected, which was quite nice for a change, but similar to Cassar, they felt a little bit too late to really have any impact on the match. The reality being that the Shore team, as many may have thought, is not and may never be all that different from the Cassar team. That’s where I think this discussion about the future of RSL is a lot more complex than a simple coaching change. (also, a bit laughable that I just called a coaching change “simple”)
So here it is ... RSL is dead, long live RSL.
RSL as we knew it, the team, the mantras, the playing style, the family.......are all part of the past, and It’s time that we all need to understand that and get on board with the next phase of Real Salt Lake’s life.
We’ve heard and talked about lack of identity and defining culture in the team right now a bit over the last few months and it almost feels like the Kreis era emotion that brought so many of fans to the team (through the results earned and the attitude of that team) had a hangover effect that ran through Jeff for a short time, but that has all but dried up at this point.
This next phase of existence for RSL will be challenging and painful, as most change is, but it needs to be extreme and potentially radical so that the growth that we are all looking for can occur. Whoever the coach is that comes in to replace Jeff full-time, I hope that someone has some of the qualities that made RSL a radical and unorthodox success in the past.
It was during that time that we were the abnormality in the league, playing the diamond midfield and fielding players that seemingly no other team in the league wanted. We were out to prove something from the top of the organization down to the last man on the bench and that collective “chip on our shoulder” extended into every seat at Rio Tinto. It was aggressive and bold and a massive risk, but we all bought into it’s extreme-ness and made it our own. It worked, and we rallied around it.
Now, you might be saying “Jake, you just said that the era your talking about was dead and that we need to move on.” You are correct, dear reader, those days are dead and we need to move on, what I want to see here is radical and not incremental change. Everything should be on the table right now.
Play the young guys, change the formation, buy Messi — okay, not really Messi but you get the point. A conservative approach will not save this season and may take us down a long road of seasons like the last three. I hate to say this, but we need to be bold (maybe we can hang on to that mantra?) and start thinking about being unorthodox again. Let’s be the rag tag bunch of rebels and outcasts who know that their brand of soccer is the best in the league, again. That’s what I want. That’s what I hope Craig and DLH are out getting for this team.