State of Mind: Sigh combined with not surprised
Location: Subdued supporters sofa
Due to work I didn't get to see the game as it happened on Sunday. However, I've watched the replay (2 hours of my life I'll never get back), read some of my fellow bloggers thoughts and mulled for a couple of days. These are just some of my thoughts and I'm not going to make any attempt to analyze the entire game but for me there are some things that stand out.
Thud. That's the sound of many fans' and supporters' optimism crashing back to earth after Sunday afternoon's disheartening loss. For those of you that thought TFC were turning the corner and on to the road to respectability well sadly we haven't even approached the corner. There it is, kind of off in the distance - it is close enough that you can see it and maybe it's time to slow down and prepare to turn, but they're not there just yet.
Much has been made of fatigue due to number of games played, travel, heat and so forth. And while yes those were contributing factors for this game in particular you have to remember that they had an extra day of rest, they arrived in Philly early giving them extra time to acclimate, they had the players that were available back to full health and they were playing the second worst team in the league (who were also dealing with similar issues).
Yes, games like this are inevitable and it's true that the team still lacks the needed depth (well, talented depth) to withstand the rigors and unbalanced nature of the MLS schedule. But I have to ask why yet again the exact same players were put out there - what happened to managing minutes? - and why it took so long for certain subs to be put in (why leave Emory in there for so long?). I have called for consistency in the starting XI all season long, but I also recognize when it's time to change things up to keep your players freshn because this stretch of a game every 3 days or so is not ending anytime soon. Especially with the really exciting friendly with the Liverpool FC scrubs coming up...but I digress.
Not helping the seemingly exhausted team (and they pretty much all looked gassed) were some of the tactics being employed (high line that the inexperienced defense just cannot execute), the regression in form of Logan Emory and the cold foot of Danny Koevermans. Like I said, if he doesn't score they're going to lose and well, you watched the game, you know what happened. And perhaps Paul Mariner has realized some of these things as he's stated that there will be changes in the lineup tomorrow night against Vancouver - what that means exactly is obviously under wraps until oh about 6pm but my first thought is that maybe (finally) Ryan Johnson will get a rest; but probably not.
Do I think all is lost? No; that's not my way. I just don't believe in blindly supporting anything and everything that happens with the team that I love. They didn't play well, there were some suspect coaching decisions and still no sign of any of the much needed support coming through the transfer window. Asking questions is part of my being and I think part of being a supporter of any team. Does that mean I'll stop going to games or stop cheering for the boys in Red? Of course not - I go to every game thinking (hoping, wanting) that they're going to win; I hold my breath, bite my nails and work myself into fits of anxiety during every game. I'll be there tomorrow night as always ready to celebrate when our boys win; just like I'll be there the following week and two weeks later and so on. Hope to see you there.
Lot of Links: For some actual recaps and some other perspectives on Sunday's game and the current state of TFC I suggest you visit the following fine folk: The Yorkies, Waking The Red, Red Nation Online and Typical TFC.