Our 'Caps had a bad night at the office in a 1-0 loss to Real Salt Lake.
So what did we learn?
There is no doubt that this was one of our poorest performances at home. Coming off two good road outings, including a 3-0 victory in Montreal, there were great expectations for this team returning home in front of a sell-out crowd and with three valuable points at stake.
What we got was a very disjointed showing that left everybody scratching their heads. We could not retain possession of the ball well enough, we did not create enough turnovers when we tried to pressure their defence, and we lacked quality in the last third. The team was very flat and even the early substitutions in the second half had minimal effect as we went close to scoring and then petered out once again.
There will be a lot of soul searching going on. It’s a tough lesson we have to learn, and it must be learned fast in order to get it right next week against Portland.
The visiting head coach has to be given a lot of credit for the team he picked to play in this game. They have a very important game on Tuesday as they host D.C. United in the U.S. Open Cup final, and he must have known that most of his first team players would have one eye on that game. Every player wants to play in Cup finals and win trophies, and he probably knew it was going to be hard to focus on this game three days beforehand.
Putting his so-called second team out meant they would be hungry to prove a point to their coach and they would give everything in this game. The team he put out would give him a better chance in this game and, judging by his reaction at the final whistle, he got more than he thought he would get. You have to give credit to the coach for picking this team, and credit to the RSL players for the way they played. As disappointing as we were, they were resilient in defence and very commanding in possession of the ball and Kreis can take a lot of credit for setting his team up for a win.
Learn from this painful loss
As much as this result is going to sting all week, we have to learn from this game and find out why we went from being a battling team that grounded out two positives results on the road to a team that could not raise their level of play enough at home to get a win, all in one week. They will have to look at themselves in this game and analyze what they could have done more. It’s gone now and all they can do is look to win their last four games and hope that is enough. But they cannot have another game like this one or it will be lights out. The team has no choice but to learn and use this game as a vehicle to put out four strong performances and see where the chips fall.