It felt like a match we’ve seen before: When RSL needs a goal, things turn bad, and while once or twice makes sense, we’ve seen the same thing repeatedly. Let’s talk about what we just saw.
Loser: Anderson Julio
Anderson Julio was, at one point or another, good for this team. I think he can be that again. He was not tonight. He was sloppy in possession, poor on the ball, and a defensive liability. That he was not in the first set of substitutions was odd — and it was only because of injury or cramping or something of the sort that he left the match almost immediately after. It was a bad performance from Julio.
Loser: Justin Meram
Justin Meram played less than 30 minutes in this match, but it didn’t take long for him to look well off the pace of the game. He lost possession in less than 30 minutes as many times (4) as Anderson Julio. (Of course, he didn’t lose possession in his own box, so I guess there’s a silver lining there.)
Loser: Erik Holt
What can you say? I don’t think Erik Holt is more than a fourth-string defender for this team. He has some excellent physical strength that can carry him in some matches, but in any match where he has to not play a player onside, he’s going to struggle. And that’s going to be a lot of matches.
Loser: Albert Rusnak
This is not about Rusnak’s creativity. It’s not about his passing. Instead, Rusnak here is sitting in for the entirety of the team’s attack in situations where they need a goal. We very quickly hit the big red panic button, and it’s not doing anything for us.
Oh, the other thing. I don’t know, maybe I’m old fashioned, but when our captain talks like this after a match, I’m going to struggle. Maybe I just want a little bit of fire and brimstone, I dunno. I want these losses to be painful, not par for the course.
Juarez: "What can I say, we created chances, we're pushing the game forward, just lacked a little bit of that quality in the final third." #RSL— Matt Montgomery (@TheCrossbarRSL) August 5, 2021
Winner: Joni Menendez
He wasn’t perfect. He didn’t score. But time and time again, he was dangerous, and he was making things happened. I look forward to a day when he’s fit enough to play 90 minutes, because he’s looking promising.
editor’s note: Somehow, I wrote 1-1 draw in the headline. Obviously, we lost 1-0. The error has been corrected.