It was an odd season. After the highflying end of 2017, it was assumed that RSL would be one of the better squads in MLS the following year. But that’s not what happened. The team saw huge wins, such as the 6-0 demolition of the Rapids and 6-2 defeat over Zlatan and his team, but also saw several embarrassing losses, such as the 5-1 home opener against LAFC.
After LA Galaxy failed to beat Houston (thanks for those three goals, Dynamo), they never overtook RSL. Real then went to Los Angeles and, for the first time ever, beat LAFC. It was a shocking upset.
Then came Sporting Kansas City. A team everyone in Utah should hate. There’s a lot of history there, and once again, Real fell in Kansas City. The home leg was decent. One silly mistake put SKC up on away goals, but RSL was still in it. A 4-2 loss was painful. Real had chances to finish, that they didn’t take advantage of. Another back pass and other painful goal saw Real Salt Lake knocked out of the playoffs.
Now we find ourselves in the offseason and a little confused about how to feel. Sadness, sure, but RSL made a deeper playoff run than I thought they probably would, if you’d asked me after RSL’s last regular season game.
Here are a few suggestions on navigating the news few days and weeks:
Listen to the pain
Seeing your team get beat sucks. Embrace that. Here’s a playlist to help you feel all the feels. This playlist is mean to be a journey. It has some classics, some angsty pop-punk, and some songs that may be new to you. All deal with sorrow, it some way or another. It won’t make you fell better, but maybe it will resonate.
Write mean tweets to Don Garber
What does writing mean tweets to the MLS Commissioner accomplish? Nothing in a practical sense, but it’s very satisfying to think that he’s reading sick burns in his notifications. “Don Garber, more like Don GARBAGE.”
I’m not saying Garber is responsible for RSL’s end of the season, but I’m not saying he isn’t, either. I mean, we were hard done by a few times with scheduling. There are always rumors of deals that were killed by the league. We gotta rage and storm, why not rage and storm towards MLS’s top man?
(He’s actually very nice in real life.)
Read the Rapids subreddit
No matter the sadness you feel after this loss, it’s nothing compared to the terrible reality of being a Rapids fan. So, embrace that pettiness and read their subreddit. It’s always full of fans ripping on their entire organization from the players, the coaches, the FO, to the ownership. The motherly saying, “it could always be worse”, means you could be a Rapids fan. Cover your pain by mocking others. You can’t lose (even if our team did).
Remember the good times
It may hurt, like looking at pictures of you and your ex together, but 2018 held some amazing moments for RSL fans. Remember beating the Rapids six goals to zero? Or the duck? Damir’s karate kid goal? Baird winning Rookie of the Year? The Petke presser about the VAR official watching the Simpsons? Go back and watch some of those memories. They’ll haunt you but that’s your life now.
Take up a new hobby
Try something new. Our managing editor would recommend craft chocolate, and that’s not a bad shout. I went through a phase my freshman year of college where I learned to crochet, and that was kind of cool. I made a few hats. Getting into a less popular league, like Serie A or The Eredivisie, is a good path to take. Don’t get into the Premier League or the Bundesliga, it’s way too popular, and therefore, emotionally venerable (I’m a Spurs supporter, so trust me on this one). If you emotionally invest in a team like Lazio, very few people are going to call you on it when they underperform.
If you don’t know transfermarkt.com, you’re missing out on a great resource. I’m not transfer wizard, but I’m always surprised how well people seem to know the most obscure players in the offseason. This could be you. Bury your sadness beneath mountains of unheard of player knowledge. Analyze every post by Andy Williams. Should you ever get a transfer prediction correct, that smugness can see you through years of disappointing playoff results.
Caution: Do Not Enter
There are a few things I want to caution people from pursing as an emotional crutch: the US Men’s National Team, Movie Pass, Red Dead Redemption 2 (it’s too powerful and all-consuming), crocheting (your hats just aren’t that good), soccer writing. None of those things shall bring you any joy.
At the end of the day, soccer is just a game. It’s a game we love, but it should be taken as such. Real Salt Lake will always be the team we support, even through hard times.