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RSL vs SKC: What we learned

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The playoff edition

MLS: Western Conference Semifinal-Sporting Kansas City at Real Salt Lake Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

One mistake. Just too long on the ball for Rimando and SKC get the better result. A 1-1 draw isn’t bad, nor is it insurmountable, but we’re going to Kansas City with Sporting in a better position. Just barely. A 0-0 draw in the next one means advancement for SKC. Not a massive hole, but not optimal, either.

Petke talked about the team being sluggish at halftime. I actually thought we ground out a good match against a strong opponent.

Let’s be honest here. Any other time in the season and a 1-1 draw at home against the #1 team in the West feels acceptable. It isn’t a loss. We held our own. But Sporting have a fine defense. They only allowed forty goals this season, 3rd best in the league. What sets them apart this year are their sixty-five goals scored, 4th best in the league (last year they only scored forty, 18th in the league). They only lost two at home.

So it’s going to be a bruising grind in Kansas City against a sold team with everything to win on the line. We can do it. We’ve showed that we belong in these playoffs. We might not be the flashiest team, but we can grind out results. Is it enough to advance? We’ll see.

Let’s do to Sporting in a week what we did to LAFC last week.

That mistake

Rimando spent too much time on the ball this match. SKC noticed. Under pressure we sent the ball back to Nick. Multiple times. It was only a matter of continued pressure before they forced an error. SKC saw that weakness and they exploited it. That error cost us the match.

Considering how many matches Rimando has saved for us, I’m not too down. There’s that old adage that strikers can fail nine times out of ten and become the hero for that one success; however, a goalkeeper can succeed nine times out of ten and be vilified for that one mistake. It’s how things go. Brush it off and move on. If anyone can, it’s Nick.

Peter Vermes (an unbiased couple of cents)

There’s a lot of speculation that Greg Berhalter tops the short list for USMNT coach. I think it should be Vermes. He has the coaching skill set that I think most compliments our current player pool. Could Vermes do for the USMNT what he’s done in Kansas City? Can the US be the bruising ruffians of world soccer? We’re already part of CONCACAF, might as well embrace it.

I’m a country over club guy and I always will be.

Overreactions

No Rusnak next match. Ouch.

If Vermes takes over the USMNT, maybe SKC could hire Pablo Mastroeni or Sigi Schmid (there might even be some former RSL coaches on the market).