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The Knee Jerk: RSL vs Houston

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MLS: Houston Dynamo at Real Salt Lake Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

I’m starting to see a consistent picture. I also don’t have the answers. There were things about tonight’s game that I really liked, but we dropped points at home again. And why are our sheets so dirty? Always dirty. They look like LAFC’s jerseys from their earlier game today: washed your whites with a red shirt, did you?

The First Half

RSL looked good. I’m not sure if it was Houston playing poorly, RSL playing well, or a combination of both, but that first half was a fun one to watch. Chang had a great start. RSL controlled play and attacked. We got an early goal. Everything looked to be coming up Milhouse.

There was even an attack where Herrera crossed a ball to Toia in the final run of attack. An outside back to an outside back creating dangerous play? I’m all in for this.

Halftime Happened

Then halftime happened, and like so many of our games we came out and Houston played better, RSL played worse, or a combination of both. Which keeps leading me to an inevitable conclusion.

RSL is getting out-coached.

Disclaimer: Don’t get me wrong here, I’m not calling for anyone to be fired. It’s not time to look for a new coach. RSL is still in a strange transitional phase and more shakeups are likely to do more harm than good, especially to team morale. It’s also going to take time for pieces to come together, coaches decisions to be trusted, and the team to find a common vision.

But RSL is getting out-coached. Consistently.

Our opponents adjust to what we’re doing and come out stronger than we do.

Overreactions

Positive rational me: Give Freddy Juarez time to grow, adapt, learn, and improve. He has been a successful coach with many teams. As he learns and pivots, he’ll become even better. He is no Cassar. I feel like there’s more identity and cohesion under Juarez than Cassar, but there also seems to be a lack of passion that existed with Petke, which is what ultimately cost Petke his job. So let’s let Juarez be Juarez. Let’s give him time. There is a proven ability there that just needs to step up to the next level. Patience will pay out over the long run.

Angry spastic me: I want to win, win, win. Especially at home. The RioT needs to be a fortress of domination. It’s time to shake up the team, move some more players along, and bring in the right pieces. Can’t hack it? No playing time. Many players are paid to score goals. Score them. Do your job or make some groves in the bench.

The refereeing tonight was weird. Consistently weird. It played for and against us, so let’s not spend too much time railing against it. Shrug it away.