What did our beloved Claret and Cobalt do the evening of March, 10th? They did what they trained for. They did what they most wanted. They did what they are capable of. They “came to score” (The Aggrolites).
We watched last night as the walls crumbled around our team; our style, spirit, verve all rather absent as we conceded two goals and, ultimately, the match. Not just that match: Our third consecutive match. Has there been a team so self-destructive in recent memory? When was the last time we conceded a goal that wasn't down to error?
It would seem easy to blame the defenders for this one. Certainly, our defense wasn't good enough. But we're a side that defends first from the forwards, then from the midfield, and then from the back line. If we're to blame the defenders, we equally should be blaming the midfield and the forwards. Nobody, front to back, was good enough last night.
But it wasn't so dispirited a loss as, say, that Minnesota match. We did look like we were trying, we did put in effort, but at the end we looked exhausted. From the first minute, we looked exhausted. Is that an excuse for not doing the proper defensive work? Never. The errors weren't faults of the body, but of the spirit. Did we have a shocker? Not particularly. We ought temper our opinion, but that it's the third in a row makes that very difficult.
It is worth remembering that we win as a team, and we die as a team. There's no point to blaming one player or another for a missed clearance or bad positioning. The chain of events leading to a goal is rather long, and to take only the last piece of the chain — no matter how much of it was faulty — and blame that is to place blame improperly. Do you blame a defender for a missed clearance, or do you blame the midfielder for the rash foul, or do you blame the forward for losing the ball in the first place? Do you blame the goalkeeper for missing the ball? If we're to constantly harp on about the team being the star, we must accept all that comes with that declaration.
The question, then, becomes not one of blame but of solution. As always, it is the preferable route to take, isn't it? We must ask how we dig out of this hole. How does the side do it? What is our role, as fans, in helping to do so? Are we doing all we can? Our last two home matches saw active, excited and involved crowds that really tried to push the team forward. We can only hope to see that again.
What does the side in Claret and Cobalt do to repair this? We face our bitter northwest rivals, Seattle Sounders, on Wednesday, and while we can't really be certain to win this thing, we can be hopeful and we can put our best foot forward. Seattle hasn't won a regular season match since May 9 — the match that started their skid? Our 1-0 win at their place. Will they be looking for revenge? Almost certainly. Will they push our buttons? Undoubtedly. Will it be a tough match? I don't think there's any room for doubt there.
But how do we repair this three-game skid we've been on? It's our first such streak since 2007, and that's why it looks so terrible. I mean, aside from it being rather terrible all around. That certainly plays a role. Well, to start, we've got to look defensively solid. If it means we end up with a 0-0 draw or two, I'd rather see that than what we've seen. And that's from back to front. We can't blame injuries forever. We can't blame extenuating circumstances forever. Those are factors. Those are things to fight through. But they don't decide matches. They don't score goals. They don't concede with silly mistakes. You know who does that? A team.
Right, that's all for today. 'Til tomorrow.