Clockwork running a bit slow, cogs catching, but RSL still among the best

Clockwork running a bit slow, cogs catching, but RSL still among the best

Ah, hello! A good and productive Friday to you all, and welcome back to the blog for the last post before tomorrow's match preview, unless something particularly interesting happens that I feel compelled to write about. You know, news and the sort.

We've seen our good share of games this season, including a couple that haven't exactly gone according to plan, a few that didn't end as we might have hoped, and a few still that were simply quite excellent. Despite all that, though, we're yet to hit our peak, to hear our side tick over like the clockwork of a fine clock. Surely, we'll see that this season, right?

In the spirit of that, I'd like to go over what it'll take for our side to really hit their stride. I don't just mean things like "pass good" and "score goals," though I do take a little humor in those. No, there's more to it than that, and I think to this point, we've seen our players in various states of stride-hittingness.

For example, on Wednesday, we saw Saborio hit some simply brilliant through balls, but with Fabian Espindola missing, Paulo Jr. just didn't quite find the time or space necessary to pick up on them. Or, as another example, we saw plenty instances of Kyle Beckerman striding forward (were it in the rain, it would be more imagery-filled, so perhaps we'll see a little of that against Seattle) only for a player or two around him to be in the wrong position for a neat pass and a subsequent breaking down of the defense.

It's not like either player in these instances is particularly to blame for the players around them, and it's not exactly like the players around them aren't good enough or some such. These are just two examples, and you'll see things like this from every player. It's the nature of it. But where, at our best, we look a well-oiled machine, we simply have lacked that lubricant this season. (Knock that laughter off!) Our cogs are simply catching, and while we're not to the point that we're stalled in the middle of the forest shouting "OIL CAN," we are lacking just a little bit of that special connection that we need to really work.

So whether that's just something that comes with time, or whether Jason Kreis and Garth Lagerwey need to step in like Dorothy and the Scarecrow (there's a mental image worth a chuckle, eh?) to make things work slightly more smoothly, I don't know. As the season progresses, we'll see whether we're in dire straits or simply a little gulf that was actually filled with slightly sticky chocolate. Or maybe marshmallow creme. Oh, delicious, delectable marshmallow creme…

At any rate, it's not so dire as perhaps I've made it sound. We're still one of the top teams in the league, without question. We're still getting the ball into the back of the net. It may have hurt us slightly early on to have played more matches than any other side, but our short-term pain will see long-term gain as we move forward in the season and aim to succeed in multiple competitions.

Here's to ticking over, then, and becoming the clockwork side we know we can be. And by clockwork, I don't mean a clock that's running slow, nor one that is running too fast, but one that is running at precisely the required time ratio, of approximately one second per second. (Scientific, isn't it?) Right, on another note, here are two statistics for your perusal. Do enjoy.

  • Alvaro Saborio continues to lead our side in aerial duels won (19/36), which isn't too surprising but does hold in it a certain question mark. It's wonderful that he's the out for the defense, but do we over-utilize him in that way? Do we lose something of our side when we launch the ball out to him from defense? I'm genuinely unsure. It'll take some consideration before I commit.
  • A reader (thanks, Kreg!) sent in the average Power Rankings for the season across eight different sites, and it's worth a look. Real Salt Lake isn't doing too badly in this meter, and it's nice seeing something that's not just a slapped-together list by the league. Not that I'd accuse MLS-sponsored journalists of being hasty, of course. Heh.
  • S. Kansas City, 2.17
  • Real Salt Lake, 2.33
  • Seattle Sounders, 3.44
  • San Jose Earthquakes, 5.24
  • Houston Dynamo, 6.03
  • Vancouver Whitecaps, 7.29
  • New York Red Bulls, 8.36
  • LA Galaxy, 8.53
  • Colorado Rapids, 8.81
  • Dallas FC, 8.97
  • Chicago Fire, 10.43
  • DC United, 10.5
  • Portland Timbers, 13.69
  • Columbus Crew, 14.25
  • New England Revolution, 14.85
  • Chivas USA, 15.01
  • Philadelphia Union, 15.92
  • Montreal Impact, 16.74
  • Toronto FC, 17.4
  • I don't have any particular comment on the above at current, but it's always a bit funny to see LA Galaxy, New York Red Bulls, and the R*pids lingering around the mid table area. It's also nice to see we're so close to the top. I know this number means little in the long run — you know, as titles are concerned — but the court of public opinion (with Judge Reinhold, right?) is an interesting one indeed. I'll look to do more with these numbers moving forward.