Monday, June 1, 2009

The Disappointment Keeps on Coming

For those Real Salt Lake fans who follow every twist and turn of the club, this road match against San Jose was supposed to be the one where RSL finally found victory. After all, San Jose had a single win to their credit and that came in March. The Bobby Convey regime hadn't produced dividends, Daren Huckerby was out, and this team had only scored 10 goals in 10 games.

Of course, we all should have seen RSL's 2-1 loss coming, right?

Real Salt Lake played 6 matches during the month of May and had 0 wins to show for it, 4 losses and 2 ties. 4 of the 6 games were on the road. They only managed to score 3 goals during that stretch.

So what's the problem? Is it personnel, formation, tactics, coaching, confidence, or team unity?

The heat from the fans seems to be coming down most on the forwards and Coach Kreis. While the fans tend to overreact in these situations, I think it's logical that they have pointed their ire in these directions. And I assume that this will come as no surprise to either the coach or the forwards. They understand the need to produce results.

The forwards get the blame simply because they have failed to put the ball in the net consistently. Robbie Findley had 2 of the teams 3 goals during the month, but the team needs a forward pairing that can produce goals in greater abundance.

The coach receives the blame simply because things aren't working. Coach Kreis has been searching for different combinations, but none of them seem to pan out. Many (including myself) were clamoring to see a Fabian Espindola/Luis Escalada pairing up top. While Escalada missed a golden chance early on against San Jose he was otherwise non-existent, and appeared slow and lacking effort on the pitch. Espindola did not appear to be able to get anything positive going during his time on the pitch. When Findley/Movsisyan were inserted early in the 2nd half they brought alot more energy and offensive pressure. I couldn't help but wonder what would have happened had they been started.

Kreis has also tinkered with a 4-5-1 for two of the road matches. This appeared to yield some improvements as those two road matches were more competitive than the first 3 on the season. But the team failed to score in those 2 matches. The switch back to the 4-4-2 on the road, did yield RSL's first road goal, but it also netted another all-too-familiar road loss.

So what's the answer? Is it personnel, formation, tactics, coaching, confidence, or team unity? All of those things needed to be examined by Coach Kreis and GM Garth Lagerwey. I am sure that they are having discussions on these very topics, and will continue to make changes and adjustments to try to find the combination of players, formation and tactics that work.

For a team that came into this season with high expectations, the answers will need to come quickly. The pressure is already high, but sitting in 6th place in the West after 11 games just isn't good enough. Failure to find the correct combination and end the winless streak over the next couple of games will have the voice of the fans even louder calling for heads, and more importantly those in charge may start to join them.