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Water Cooler Talk: Figuring out RSL’s slow start

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Real Salt Lake’s season hasn’t exactly seen the club racing out of the gates.

MLS: Real Salt Lake at Sporting KC Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Before I get too far into this week’s “Water Cooler Talk,” I should let you all know that I am not a fan of Adam Sandler movies. I am guilty of watching a few when I was younger though, so when I came into the office and heard “Oh, no! We suck again!” I laughed a little. I mean, what else could I do if not just laugh and nod?

Over the last few weeks, I have gone from ecstatic about our win in Colorado, upset about our loss to Atlanta, and somewhere between upset and indifferent about falling to SKC. Trying to find out exactly where things went wrong isn’t easy, either. Each time something goes wrong, it seems there are three ways that people can go—blame the coach, blame the players, or go on about “real fans still believe,” and while none of those are necessarily wrong, I’m not sure any one is necessarily right in this case. So, here’s what I’ve been telling the people in my office who still care enough to make fun when RSL loses.

During the off season, there were a number of moves that confused me. I honestly thought Cassar would be let go, and it confused me that he wasn’t. I didn’t think they would ever let Javi go, and sure enough they did. Finally, (brace yourselves for this one, guys) I honestly thought, expected, hoped? That Rimando would be let go too. Especially after Javi. I wanted him to go to Atlanta and I wanted Jeff to take over—we had been grooming him for years, for crying out loud; he deserved a starting role with RSL. But Rimando stayed, Attinella is in Portland, and we’re struggling to field players healthy enough to go 90.

“You see, that’s where the whole mess started,” I tell my uninterested office mates. “A poor offseason (in my opinion) that has led to a mediocre if not just confusing start to the regular season” (there’s actual evidence for this, just look at the last few games). It’s confusing as hell because I actually think we will pick it up at the end of the season, when it matters most. For the first time in three years, I honestly think we will have a strong showing in the playoffs. But we have to have a strong regular season before we get there, and we can’t think of that until people get healthy.

It’s Finals week here, and for at least one full week now, I’ve been hearing people say, “If I can just make it to the end of this week, I will be fine. If I can get past the papers, the tests, the grading, the stress, and the lack of sleep, I will be okay. Even if I fail every class, it’ll be over, and I will be fine.” I would like to say this, but with the end of Finals week comes Dallas—the last unbeaten team this year… Still. I firmly believe that if we can make it past the injuries, suspensions, consecutive losses, and whatever hard feelings came from Plata’s tardiness and have come from his lack of scoring, we will be fine. If we can just get to October, I think we will be okay. Even if we fail to make the playoffs, it’ll be over and we will be able to look ahead to next year. We may suck again now, but there are six months left; put your hood on and run—we got this.

MLS: Real Salt Lake at Sporting KC Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports