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).
The interminable pain of losing is wrenching, but it doesn't compare to the pain of drawing and dropping out of the group stages.
Losing sure would have hurt, but there's something worse about playing well and not winning. And let's be clear on that, because it seems like a controversial statement: We played well. I really believe that. For much of the match, we looked very, very close to our best. We lacked a bit in finishing chances, but in making chances, we were second-to-none.
And that's encouraging, in a way. I mean, not that we didn't finish our chances, but that we made them. Especially as we're coming into the MLS playoffs, and they're sort of important, too. I mean, I love CONCACAF, and I want us to do well, but it's not the only horse we've got in the race. That's the phrase, right?
It's frustrating, having players miss those chances. We had some golden ones. Sleeping on it, contrary to popular belief, didn't make it better — but it didn't make it worse. In fact, maybe the realization that there's more left to play for will be our saving grace. We need one right now, don't we?
But good grief, it's frustrating, isn't it?
We must press onward. We know we'll probably be seeing a reformed squad next year, as the lack of allocation money garnered by participating in the CONCACAF Champions League group stage will dry up. We know we'll have to deal with the disappointment of missing out on the knockout stages for at least a year.
But those things can come later. There's an offseason for this stuff.
Until then, let's take heart in our determination last night, in our drive, in our ability to absolutely control the defensive proceedings. Against more familiar opponents — especially ones who will actually be looking to play — that will be of the utmost importance.
I don't want to focus too much on this draw-loss hybrid — not right now. Thus, a short one is all you've got. My (almost) apologies. Let's talk tomorrow, with a fresh approach and mentality. Let's home the team does the same on Saturday.