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RSL vs New England: What we learned

We’re not done, yet!

MLS: New England Revolution at Real Salt Lake Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

Beautiful. This is one crazy, beautiful, heartbreaking, lovable team. It’s a wild ride and, frankly, I love it. Keep it wild. Huge losses, huge wins, wild swings. First and foremost, this game is entertainment, and I’ve been massively entertained. Tears and cheers all.

What we do

RSL historically comes out swinging during this right-after-the-international-break match. Young guys and bench guys get shots and they take them. It doesn’t happen every season, but it’s normal enough that I’ve come to not stress these games.

We lose players to international callups every year. The depth guys have to step up. They often do and we get wildly entertaining games. We see guys come out swinging, looking to make an impact and get more game time.

Out-coached

There have been many matches where we’re the team out-coached. Not tonight. Tonight Petke clearly out-coached Friedel. He came in with the stronger game plan, with a motivated squad, and with everything to lose. The team executed and I shouted my voice hoarse cheering for those goals.

Tonight is a win for the whole team and a huge win for Petke. A couple of weeks ago, Matt Montgomery—the Locutus of RSL Soapbox (yes, we’re evil alien cyborgs in a big space cube); okay, maybe he’s Picard—asked the question: is Petke a good coach? The best point he made, and one I think needs repeating, is that Petke is a young coach. He’s going to stumble, he’s going to falter, he’s going to outright flop on his face. But he’s also going to coach matches like tonight’s. And he’s going to learn from every single one. I, for one, am looking forward to watching and being a part of that development.

One of the best decisions Petke made was playing strength and experience in our centerbacks. Glad is awesome, but with the high pressure that New England likes, we needed that strength. It payed off.

Some truth

Against a better team with something to play for, this game isn’t quite as one-sided. There were some sloppy passes and some rough patches of uninspiring possession. Sadly, I don’t see RSL as MLS Cup winners, but playoffs are the roulette table of sports. Playoffs don’t decide the best team, they just determine which team played a few good matches. And they’re incredibly entertaining (Supporter’s Shield should mean more, though). I’m not ready for our season to be over just yet and we’re like cornered badgers when we’re the underdogs. Underbadgers?

Overreactions

Okay. I take it back. MLS Cup for RSL.

Luke was awesome tonight. Remember when Devon Sandoval got engaged and rocked it? We need more players getting engaged during the run-up to the playoffs.

We still need LA Galaxy to faceplant, but things are looking better tonight than after Portland at home. Can we beat Portland in their house? We’ve done it before.

We play again on Sunday, and then we wait. And watch. And not play the last day of the season. Because we’re RSL and we’re the tiniest market and someone had to be left out. Add that chip to the shoulder.