Monday, September 21, 2009

Thoughts on RSL coming up short in Houston

I think I’m still a bit in shock about the Houston match.  In shock for several reasons:

First: I’ve never seen such a poor opening 5 minutes from RSL. Giving up two goals in a relatively soft manner so early didn’t smack of a team fighting for their playoff lives.  And I had assumed that Houston would come out sluggish after a midweek encounter at Pachuca.  Borchers having his back to the play on that first play is baffling. 

Second: I was shocked by the beautiful buildup to that first goal.  It reminded me of a similar goal that RSL scored at Kansas City.  Very creative, fluid and technical.  I would not have expected that level of composure being down by 2.  You expect a team to be very direct at that point.  To be honest, those two goals have shown the potential of this team and I think we all expected more of that this season.  Where has it been?

Third: Just after getting back into the game, the Olave red card was a punch in the gut.  It actually looked to me like a menacing tackle when I saw the live version, but replays and other angles reveal it to be much more benign.  Not red-worthy in my opinion.  In fact, I thought Campos made a much more dangerous tackle from behind later in the match.

Fourth: RSL seemed to dominate the possession for the rest of the half.  It was like Houston didn’t know how to play with the man advantage.  Shocking for such a quality team.

Fifth: Yura Movsisyan’s equalizer was sublime.  He made a great move, with a great touch, and a perfect strike.  Shocking.  In the limited time he has seen since his announced departure, he has shown much more quality in my opinion.  Pressure’s off?  Regardless, I hope we can harness that over these next few matches, and find a way into the postseason (although it looks very bleak).

Sixth: Okay this one I was not shocked by, Brad Davis’ GWG.  You could see it coming for about 15 minutes before it happened.  The team just ran out of gas, and reverted to dropping back into the box, allowing acres of space between the midfield stripe and the top of the penalty area.  It was a situation ripe for a long distance strike, and it’s fitting that Davis’ left foot delivered the blow.  A potential playoff knockout blow. 

Seventh: Brian Ching’s cheap shot of Javier Morales deserves additional discipline.  It won’t happen, but it’s deserved.  The worst part is that it was very cowardly.  Ching and Morales had a running feud since early in the half, but he waited until just seconds after the game winner to put the shot in on Morales.  Premeditated.  Cowardly.  Shocking. 

Despite the loss, and the very poor opener to the game, the team showed a lot of heart in this one.  If they show this heart for the remaining games, then they still have a shot at the playoffs.