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The Knee Jerk: We’re fourth in the league!

And second in the Western Conference!

MLS: Real Salt Lake at New England Revolution Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

It’s 2022 and I am overreacting: Supporter’s Shield here we come!

The Knee Jerk is going to be coming to you in a monthly format this year, so I hope you’ll join me for some hyperbolic overreactions. Let’s predict Club World Cup championship and panic about how the club’s floating away in a burning dumpster full of Brussels sprouts. Brussels sprouts are gross, and you’ll never convince me otherwise (but I’ll still try your Brussels sprouts just in case you can actually make them not taste like the sole of a manure scooper’s boot).

The first thing I want to talk about is Bradley Wright Phillips. Bear with me here, I’m getting somewhere RSL with this. BWP retired after a fun MLS career. What was awesome about that was RBNY did the right thing and gave him a one-day contract so he could retire as a Red Bull. It’s something that ticks me off at Dell Loy Hansen again. Javier Morales remains my favorite all-time soccer player. He inspired my love of the game. I wish we’d done right by him by doing this. It would have meant a lot to me, as much as that’s worth.

And here we are three games in, no losses, and second in the Western Conference with a team whose roster looks, at best, incomplete. Playing with four major contributors—one our captain and 2021 top goal scorer—injured. Andrew Brody, along with that great first name, has my vote for team MVP so far this season, though there are certainly other contenders. Pablo Ruiz is bossing the midfield; although, I know what Voodoo Glow Skulls said, but you don’t actually need to shoot the moon, Pablo Ruiz. And, yes, I also know that he’s probably never heard of Voodoo Glow Skulls. How old am I, now? Sigh.

Three games in and I’m putting it all on Pablo Mastroeni. It feels like RSL has regained their The Team is the Star mentality, and that’s on the coach.

Maybe we’re sans a huge signing. Whatever. There’s a feeling of a turned corner as an organization here, and what we’ve got is putting in some damned fine effort. I think RSL has the right front office people in the right places since Garth Lagerwey started a game of Follow the Leader to Seattle. I hope this is the start to positive momentum organization-wide.

Here’s to playing all the way to the end of games.

How many teams would have phoned in that New England match, just gotten out of the cold and snow, shrugged off the loss as being on the road in a difficult place, and moved on to the next one? How many teams would have settled for a single road point and gone home thinking of it as a win? We won that thing. It made my weekend, and it’s teamwork and perseverance like that which keep me coming back for more.

Stomping Seattle at home? What a fine feeling. Resounding booing at Albert Rusnák? I super-d-duper love it. Seeing him in rave green is disgusting. Seattle’s a four hour drive from me now, so maybe I’ll go cruise the city in hopes of booing him out my car window. Maybe I’ll just boo everyone who looks even a bit like him. Maybe I will look crazy. Whatever. The Pacific Northwest is beautiful, and as a recent transplant myself I can, I suppose, not fault him for that move, but boo nonetheless. Boo Rusnák, and boo random Seattleite (that demonym explains the Space Needle!), too.

There are CCL caveats and weather whatabouts with those games, sure, but this club made the very best of those previous two matches and I want more.

Sure. I didn’t need that vs. Houston nap, but we’re one of seven lossless teams here at the start of 2022, so I can shrug it away.

It’s a long season after all, but we’re here for, well, you know the song.

Overreactions

RSL should borrow a snow-maker from Snowbird or Brighton (or whatever your favorite ski resort is) and play all home matches in the snow from now on.

You know what? Let’s drag a snow-maker to away matches, too, and blast snow in from the parking lot. There’s got to be someone in Utah who owns a truck.

I’m reminded once again of just how much I love a good booing, so I’ll leave you with a really bad pun about Rusnák and Halloween and ghost costumes.