EXCLUSIVE CLIP OF ME AT HALF TIME!
I've developed somewhat of a reputation of being negative about things during the course of this season and I'd argue that I've just been realistic based on the squad. See, RSL have had an issue for the last few years that I intend on talking about soon but we have players in our first team and have for a season or two that simply aren't good enough for the growing talent of MLS. I don't quite know how it seems to have escaped the Salt Lake brass but the rate of expansion in terms of talent that MLS has gone through is astounding. Time was that your first round draft picks got a handful of games and now we have first round players (and HG talent) going right into the starting lineup not because the teams are that bad but the players are that good.
So when our Youth walked onto the pitch, there was a bitter sweet feeling for me in this because on one hand guys like Holness, Dunk, and Velazco have earned a shot at first team minutes, but the pressure mounted on them to save RSL from its formless and injury ridden first team was a killer. There are tough lessons to be learned from this game and here are the top three.
I'm a big believer in taking accountability for your actions, good and bad. Reagan Dunk will take the brunt of the wrath for the first goal and a handful of other moments and while he didn't give a great showing, those chances that slipped past him weren't goals without poor play right across that back line. Aaron Maund and Chris Wingert both got caught watching the ball too often and ended up seeing it go into the back of the net. The third goal by Diego Fagundez especially was frustrating, as Wingert just watched the ball float past. Demar Phillips should have done better but Wingert (and Maund really) needed to be reacting.
I mean, that's just not good enough. At all. You've got three guys marking Lee Nguyen on the corner of the box for whatever reason and then Maund misses his interception leaving Ricardo Velazco with no chance at beating Caldwell to a ball that fast. That's 5 players (excluding Velazco) who should have done better in the opening goal.
See, you have to cover your arse. You have to be untouchable with everything you do so if it goes wrong, nobody can blame you. If you do your job and somebody else doesn't then whatever happens isn't on you and right now we have a defending group with no confidence and they are all looking for somebody to save them from themselves. Rather than worrying about each other, those players need to make sure they do what they need to do. If you have four guys who do everything they need to do and nothing more, we'll probably have a clean sheet.
One thing I wanted to see with this youthful lineup is a high tempo and high pressure game from RSL and I don't know about you but I just didn't see it? There wasn't much in the way of fast transition or break neck speed on show. Now, I know the Revs are a quick team going forward so maybe it's a case of young legs getting tired fast but we just didn't run the ball around the park like I feel should have happened. New England's defence looked better by our unable-to-hit-a-barn-door-with-a-banjo attack but on the rare times we pushed them, the started to wobble very easily. Some teams just can't handle speed and overwhelming numbers (see: Atlanta United) and RSL has a real chance to do the same with Petke and his dislike for formations. Whoever returns to the line up next week needs to be raring to go.
Real Salt Lake has survived on one thing for the last couple of seasons and that was the ability to score more than the other team. It's not the best way to get three points but it pulled us though for a good while but the issue we have now is the well has run dry with goals. Yura 2.0 is not going like we hoped it would (I have opinions on Real Salt Lake’s over-reliance on past glory), Plata just doesn't want to be here anymore and the only other striker we had is out for a good long while. For the life of me I can't understand why neither Jeff Cassar nor Mike Petke in this window made a move for a striker who can score, but the window is shut now and somebody needs to come up with some goals and fast.
We're floating around the Chivas USA bracket in the league now and we don't have a Cubo Torres and our Dan Kennedy is injured. For whatever reasons, Ray, call it... fate, call it luck, call it karma, we're stuck in a rut and I'm not sure there is light at the end of the tunnel yet. New York have Patrick Viera at the helm and he's drilled his team over and over to be good at what they do when they do it well, beating the attacking juggernaut that is Atlanta United. They are still a young team though and a team still coming together so there's weakness to exploit, especially moving the ball down the length of the field. They lack a little bite in the air and it may be time to let the long balls fly. Honestly, I don't care what they try as long as we don't do the same thing we've done in the last three games!
Also, let it be known my jerk brother handled his team beating my team better than expected:
I'm still telling our mum on him.