Happy Gold Cup International Break, everyone! Guess what. When we come back to regular play, RSL has three matches in one week: July 17th, 19th, and 22nd. One match is a friendly against “Premier League Powerhouse,” “Europa League Champions,” “UEFA Champion’s League Contenders” blah, blah, Manchester United, yaaaaay! If you are a regular reader, you know I think the EPL is an overrated league; however, that’s not to say it’s a bad league, just overrated. It has stellar teams, tippy-top talent, deep pockets, etc. But what are we to make of this friendly? I was, until recently, adamantly opposed to this thing. But I’m now of two minds.
I am Jack’s Howling Pancreas
I just read Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk, then I watched the movie again. I’m not a “the book was way better than the movie!” type of person; they’re different media and I enjoy them both. But I digress. RSL is only four points (five, really, if we’re really being realistic) out of a playoff spot. That’s close. There’re six in-conference points on the line that week of MLS return-to-play. Those six points could put us on a path to look like Seattle last year. To make a killer run to the final. To show everyone that RSL is a team to be feared.
That means the first game of the three is a waste of time. Why are we bothering with a tiring friendly against Manchester United when six points are on the table!? I’d say let the academy play them, but they’ve got their own tournament to worry about. Send the Monarchs or RSL Women! Both of those teams are awesome and will post a good showing against Manchester United. RSL players stay fit. It’s a win all around.
I am Jack’s Skeptical Thyroid
Does anyone think we’re really going to make the playoffs at this point? We’ve played twenty matches so far; there are teams still at only seventeen. That red line might look to be within striking distance, but the realities of RSL making the playoffs are sobering.
Do we even want to make the playoffs? A coach replaced three matches in. A new coach trying to sell new ideas and tactics. A team lacking chemistry. RSL might just be better off using the rest of this season to build toward its future, and the chunk of cash that comes with that could be a useful boon. Not to say we give up, but tinker without fear, take risks without trepidation, dump under-performing players on the bench. Don’t look back, look forward.
And make the match against Manchester United a fun one, a spectacle where RSL fans and EPL fans can come together. Where RSL can sell MLS to the EPL snobs, can show them that there’s awesome soccer in their backyards to support. Let the players enjoy themselves on the field with some of the world’s top talent. This Manchester United match might be exactly the enjoyable outing that these downtrodden players need. Let them have it. Plus, RSL is going to make some money off this thing. Put that to work.
I am Jack’s Sunburnt Ears
What do you think? Where is your excitement? Do you think the Manchester United match is worthwhile? Are you looking forward to it?
Should RSL focus on the rest of the season, friendly spectacle be damned? Are MLS matches more important? Should we be squeezing every last point we can out of this season?
Do you have another take?
Let us know in the comments!