Sunday, October 25, 2009

A few thoughts about RSL's win

Here are a few observations from the RSL/Colorado match.

On the field:

  • Andy Williams was sensational. I questioned Kreis' decision to start him. I was wrong.
  • Robbie Findley did extremely well finishing that second goal. I questioned this decision as well, but it turned out to be exceptional. It's a good thing I'm not the coach.
  • Midfield dominance was the key to this match. I've preached this before, but I think this game highlighted that fact. Although we've lost a few games this season due to lack of finishing (like in Toronto), generally when we control the midfield, we control the game.
  • The RSL defense completely shut down one of the most potent strike duos in the league. Borchers commented after the game that he felt like Omar Cummings may be the MVP of the league (and I agree), but he and Conor Casey created very few opportunities, especially in the first half.

After the game:
  • There was more of a sense of relief than accomplishment among the players.
  • I was surprised to hear that the coaches on the bench were getting updates, by the minute, of the results of other matches.
  • A couple of players mentioned Steve Pastorino's article from 3 weeks ago about RSL's losses in Texas in which he said "It's time to start the obituary on a season that started with so much potential." It appears that they used this as motivation in this final match.
  • Most of the players hung around in the bowels of the stadium to watch the finale of the Seattle/Dallas match. It was fun to see that, and the number of fans who stuck around to watch the game on the Jumbotron.
Looking ahead:
  • Like we saw with the Red Bulls last season, the post-season is truly a second season and anything can happen. For an 8th seed, RSL is a dangerous team, especially in the first round with a home-and-home. No team has been more dominant than RSL at home this season - their plus-23 goal differential at home is more than the number of goals scored by 8 teams at home.
  • Similar to NY from a season ago, RSL has a chance to be Eastern Conference Champions this season.
  • I assume that Columbus will come to town this Saturday remembering their 4-1 loss from early in the season at Rio Tinto. It was by far their worst loss this season.
  • Unlike last season, I don't think that the fact that RSL managed to reach the postseason will color their off-season approach. It's clear that this team has some great potential, but also has some deficiencies. The biggest one being on-the-field leadership (not coaching) that can help lift this team in adverse situations, particularly on the road.