1) This might be a short column. It’ll definitely be a challenge for me to write, mostly because I can’t seem to summon any enthusiasm for what I saw Saturday evening. There’s just something inherently unsatisfying about watching your team go 90 minutes without scoring. It leaves you with one of two reactions. At best, you have a feeling of… “m’eh.” At worst, you’re wondering what the hell’s wrong, is this a sign of serious problems with the offense, and is the entire season in danger of collapse. I’m going to try and talk myself off the ledge with those latter thoughts. Which leaves me with… “m’eh.”
2) So let’s talk about the defense, shall we? I can summon some enthusiasm for that. It was another shutout, right? And on the road, no less. Against one of the top scoring teams in the league. Much to be proud of there. Jean-Baptiste and Kah make a very good pairing in the center. I’m really pleased with Kah’s improvement on the whole kicking-people-in-the-face thing. Out on the sides, Harrington had a solid game, defensively, but Cap’n Jack was getting burned a few too many times by that Cruz kid. Should we have switched those two? I’ll let Caleb Porter make those decisions. I mean, we did shut ’em out, so Jack didn’t hurt us too much, right? And he did have that wicked shot on goal. Possibly our most dangerous shot.
3) I think we need a new reality TV show called “Donovan Ricketts versus the World.” I’m not quite sure on the details, but Ricketts would win. Sharks, ninjas, bulldozers, ICBMs. I think Ricketts can take them all. Without looking all that troubled, either. In 2010, when Ricketts was the MLS Goalkeeper of the Year, he had a 0.89 goals against average. This year, it’s 0.84. In 2010, he had 11 shutouts in 29 games. This year? 9 shutouts in 19 games. I wish there was a way to figure out how many points he’s been worth this year. He certainly got us our point on Saturday in Philly. From this point forward, I will only refer to him as “The Upgrade.”
4) Our offense.
Ahem… Well… Hmm… What to say? What to say?
I’m sort of hoping some of you readers will have some insight. You’re smarter than me. What’s up with our offense? Has the league figured us out? Is Philly’s defense good? I’m not sure they are. I think we just kind of sucked. Perhaps our only problem is the lack of Rodney Freakin’ Wallace. Perhaps the Ryan Johnson/Freddy Piquionne experiment needs more time to gel. ¿Y donde esta Diego Valeri? I was sort of wanting some magic out of him. Both him and Nagbe. Of course, in Valeri’s defense, if his pretty little turn & shoot had gone in, this would be an entirely different column.
5) Those last five minutes were pretty terrifying, weren’t they? Non-stop chances for Philly. Cross after cross after cross. One corner kick after another. We could never seem to get possession. Last year, we would have given up a goal. This year, our guys summoned the strength to survive and we should applaud that. Also, thank goodness for Mr. Post, right? He’s been rock solid for us this year. Unwavering.
6) So, we got a point on the road. That would be reason for celebration last year, but we’ve changed our expectations, haven’t we? Now we want three points on the road. And, I gotta tell you, we absolutely must get three in San Jose next weekend. Why? Because August is coming and it will be BRUTAL. Here’s the murderer’s row we’ll be seeing next month: Vancouver, Dallas, Salt Lake, then @ Seattle and @ Salt Lake. Oh, and there’s a bye and some mid-week games, so those last four games are all bang-bang-bang within two weeks. My point? Things could get ugly in August. We need three points next week at San Jose. Sharks, ninjas, ICBMs? I don’t care. Bring me three points. Nothing else will do.