Somehow, I haven't written anything here about Friday's match yet. We all knew exactly how it went, and to be honest, that might have been the best bet for how it was going to go forward. Nil-nil? I'm not surprised.
I'm also not surprised that we put the weight of the clean sheet largely on Nick Rimando, who bailed us out on more than a few occasions. For most of the match, we were excellent defensively, but our ranks got breached a few too many times for comfort. Then again, it does make for a fantastic highlight reel.
Well, that wraps up the regular season. A goalless draw to end it all — it's almost fitting, isn't it? Anyhow, parting is such sweet sorrow and all that, but we're only saying goodbye to the regular season in order to see its evolved form: the playoffs.
That's really the one we want to win, so while I wish we'd won the Supporters Shield, I'm not too stressed about it. (On another note, how pandering is the "Supporters Shield"? Is the implication that only supporters care about it?) We've got bigger things to worry about, anyway.
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.
It feels good to win. It doesn't feel so good to lose. How, then, does it feel to draw?
Confusing. Disrupting. I'm not really sure how I feel anymore. Where am I? What are we doing?
Oh, never mind. It's not that bad. Alas, that draw was a fair bit frustrating, wasn't it? Not in the least because of that little red card Ricardo Salazar (remember: The enemy of our enemy is our friend) showed — justly, I might add. When your opponent can only play ten men, you'd expect your team to win 10 times out of 11.
Down 1-0 and scrambling, we could've fallen. Hard. In the first 25 minutes, we weren't good enough. LA Galaxy, obviously quite good, were shooting from distance and getting the time and space they needed. We needed a response, clearly, but when that response would come was the question of the day.
Some wins are better than others. I don't know that this one is, but it certainly felt right, and if we're talking pure, unadulterated scoreline, this was the best we've had this season. There were too many positives to count.
Actually, I take that back. There were 14 positives for players, a huge positive for coaching, and a nice little cherry on top for Dan Kennedy's oddly spotty goalkeeping. But four goals aren't the result of goalkeeping — and had he been worse, Saborio could have had four or five, such was his level last night.
When did we last score two goals from set pieces in the same match? This is a genuine question. I can't remember the last time we saw two rather brilliant set pieces within a month of each other, let alone in the same match.
If we glean anything from the match, we may as well start with Javier Morales. There have, this season, been some rumblings of doubt and uncertainty about Javier's form and consistency. That magic touch, the free kick ability, the whole thing: We wondered — perhaps rightly so — if he still had it.
Few sensations beat that of the late, last-gasp win. It is as unique a feeling as any, incomparable in most sporting efforts. No delays, no time-outs, nothing: Just a slalom to the final whistle, and along the way, a goal. It wasn't the prettiest goal, nor was it the prettiest penalty — but it was successful, and that, in this competition, mattered more than any single factor could have.
That was, in a word, disappointing. But late losses like those are always that way, and this one is no exception. It was a night when our spectacular goalkeeper saved the match over and over again, but when it came to the end of affairs, a momentary lapse and some poor positional defending did us in.
Well, well! After my weekend absence, I've returned with some match notes and ramblings. Normal service, it seems, has resumed. And after this weekend, it seems perhaps that our form is returning to some sense of normalcy as we ease into the final weeks of the season. Anyhow, it was a nice win, so let's get to some discussion.
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).