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The Salt: RSL hangs on the playoff precipice

It’s been real fun.

MLS: Portland Timbers at Real Salt Lake Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Why, hello.

I know I talked last week about how The Salt has been slowly migrating to a midweek column, and I should apologize for being less than honest or something.

I’m not going to be doing that, though. After all, this isn’t a column necessarily about individual matches (even though it sometimes is), and publishing Wednesday would make this a preview of sorts, and publishing Friday would make it a match recap. It shouldn’t be either of that.

Instead, I’d like to make this an issues-based column. Not in a political sense. Good heavens, you have enough of that in your life already, I’m sure. I don’t want to pile on.

But clearly, there are a number of issues percolating in the RSL landscape, and we really should discuss them. After all, the chaos we’ve seen on the field cannot be contained simply to the field. It so rarely happens that way.

From best to worst

This is a little bit of an exaggeration, but we have gone four matches without a win — and that happens, especially when you’re a certifiably mid-table team like we are — but it should absolutely never happen immediately after you become the first team in MLS history to score six goals in back-to-back games.

Is that about a weakness on the team? I don’t know. Maybe? Are there other factors? Sure. Probably. But it’s a problem.

The real question I want answered, though I know I can’t really get an answer: Are our inconsistencies in form this time tied to inconsistencies in form at other times?

Still, it could be worse. Orlando City won six of their first nine (they didn’t win in their first three, so that’s six wins in a row) and have won just once in their last 22 matches. That’s not a typo. At least, the number 22 isn’t a typo. There are probably other typos in there somewhere.

MLS: Los Angeles Galaxy at Real Salt Lake Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports
MLS: Los Angeles Galaxy at Real Salt Lake Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports
MLS: Los Angeles Galaxy at Real Salt Lake Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

International duty is just the best!

Last week I talked about how MLS scheduled us into oblivion, and about how I was pretty miffed about it. I understand the reasons, though I don’t agree with them. (I think it’s because MLS wants to really hype up the last two games of the year — except ours, of course — and having a midweek game gets in the way of that.)

The reason it’s an especially rotten schedule? International duty overlaps with it. And not just any international duty, but international friendlies. I wrote on Thursday about our potential lineup and the reasons for it, and international duty is a big part of that.

And why? It’s little more than a money grab for the confederations at play. Why are there so many meaningless international matches? I wish I knew. I hate it. I truly hate it.

Anyway, good luck to Albert Rusnak, Joao Plata, Jefferson Savarino and Shawn Barry.

What happens if we lose?

I know we’re all wondering about this, and I don’t have an answer. I’ll write up a Playoff Preview piece for Wednesday that will outline potentialities, but I’ll be honest: If we lose at home again, I will lose the faith.

If we lose and miss the playoffs as a result, it will become very difficult to support the leadership in this organization, and I don’t want to reach that point. So, if they’ll kindly win, that would be great. Thanks.

Off topic

I don’t have too much to bring up right now. I’m still reading the same book series, I’m still watching the same things. I’ve played a few board games worth talking about, I suppose, so let’s talk!

I played Scythe on Saturday, which remains one of my favorite medium-large games. It’s one of those games that, from the outset, feels like it should be aggressive, but it’s never quite as much so as you’d think. It also doesn’t take too long to learn — maybe 15 to 30 minutes if you’re playing for the first time — and that’s quite nice.

I also played Dead of Winter for the first time in a while, which was a very pleasant experience. It does feature a traitor element, but none of us were assigned as traitors, so really, it was just two hours of all of us being suspicious then being pleasantly surprised.

More soon!