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RSL vs. Sacramento, US Open Cup: What we learned

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I was kinda hoping for a killer US Open Cup run. Alas.

MLS: U.S. Open Cup-Real Salt Lake at Sacramento Republic Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

We’re not so much a leaky bucket as a giant sinkhole. How can one team give up so many goals? It’s difficult to watch; it’s embarrassing. But this match makes it fifteen goals in the last three matches away from Utah. Fifteen goals. Three MLS teams haven’t given up fifteen regular season goals yet this year.

So where’s the chemistry? I teach language arts. I like to play with words. The best math I do is adding attack bonuses to d20 rolls. Physics means I go downhill on my bike really fast; uphill, not so much. Chemistry? I know that yeast+water+sugar = happiness, but that’s about as far as my chemistry goes. And chemistry is elusive for this RSL team. Our final third possession and decision making are near nonexistent. Our defenders are left by themselves. Our midfield passing is confused. Lackluster possession and poor passing make for ugly games and tough losses.

It feels like there’s a missing element of team with this, er, team. That whole cliché about no I in team is not holding out. It feels like so many players want to be the guy that we’re losing sight of what a team really is. What a team has to be. You could drop Messi onto the field to play 1v11 and he would lose. Because one person is not a team. Messi is a piece to a team that elevates everyone around him, that creates a gravitational pull that frees up other players, that magically adheres the ball to his foot and walks through stacks of defenders. At least I think it’s magic.

And RSL absolutely has the talent. No doubt about it. There are some awesome pieces. But they’re not a team. There’s no chemistry. No style of play. It’s going to change, but it’s hard to witness. It’s frustrating, but hopefully this will make it all the sweeter when we’re back to inspiring fear in opponents. It’s coming. It has to be coming. Just there, peeking above our beautiful peaks. I’ll still be sporting my RSL gear, I just might blush a bit.