Typically, the morning of a match, we go with something pretty formulaic on RSL Soapbox: Three things to watch. And most of the time, I do find real value in it, even if it’s sort of same-y week-in, week--out, structurally speaking.
But we’ve talked about the one big thing we’re watching this week, and that’s injuries. Because of course we are. There are about five billion of them. Rest assured, it might not end up as bad as it looks there, but still! It’s tough right now. (A slight update: Albert Rusnak did travel with the team, so don’t expect to not see him. I guess.)
So here we go. Here are five ways we can really make the match fun tonight. It’s the only choice we have, really. We might as well try.
1. Celebrate the arrival of Jefferson Savarino
Savarino is not going to immediately change games for us. I think. And maybe he will, but it seems like a stretch. But he will probably be somebody that can change games in the future, and that’s given me enough reason to be excited.
So let’s look to him as somebody that can lift our collective spirits. Everyone says he’s fast. Is he? We’ve also heard he’s great on the ball. Can he show that in MLS on a matchday? He’s been successful in Venezuela, and now we get to see if he can continue that in MLS.
2. New England is bad, too
Nothing’s more fun than watching two teams who aren’t doing well, right? You get that sense of desperation constantly, you get crazy tackles, and you get the greatest celebrations.
Normally, watching two bad teams on turf would be awful. I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t tune in. Just know, the best games aren’t always the ones featuring the “best” teams. Think of it this way: If New England’s defense looks anything like ours, we could be in for a treat.
3. Mike Petke’s press conference
Whether we win or lose, we’re basically guaranteed a great press conference with Mike Petke. That’s not something we’ve had the luxury of since Jason Kreis left for New York City FC in 2014. It simply wasn’t one of Jeff Cassar’s good qualities. That’s fine — not every coach actually needs to be charismatic with the press, even if it seems important from the inside.
Petke speaks his mind consistently, and maybe if we win, we’ll see him really celebrate.
4. Maybe we’ll see a new formation
I know that I’ve been prone to celebrating new formations and tactical ideas when they’re not entirely necessary, but this seems like the sort of thing that we really could see with good reason. It feels like things are broken, and Mike Petke wants to fix them. This isn’t a case of Jason Kreis playing a 4-3-3 when we went to Philadelphia one year, then promptly abandoning it.
Who knows what we’ll see, but there’s a strong chance it could at least be something different. That could be nice.
5. It’s a nice break from playing Breath of the Wild all day
Maybe this is me playing my cards on the table for all to see, but sometimes, you just get sucked into a video game, and an RSL match is the perfect way to reintroduce yourself to the real world.