Monday Lunch: No One Remembers the Runners-up

Posted: May 2, 2011 in mls, soccer
Tags: , , , , , ,

By Evan Ream

Note: Written before last weekend’s matches.

Before I get to the main point of this article, I want to bring up a few points that have been bothering me about Wednesday’s CONCACAF Champions League Final:

  1. I love the work Jason Kreis has done, but why was Arturo Alvarez the first attacking substitution instead of Paulo Jr.? Kreis was amazing throughout the tournament and deserves respect, but this move was a head scratcher. RSL brought on the newly acquired Alvarez over the established Paulo Jr. Alavrez proceeded to make mistake after mistake and had few good moments. The only possible explanation I can think of is that Kreis wanted more width and more of a slashing playmaker, but isn’t that what Fabian Espindola is for? Speaking of Espindola…
  2. Why was Espindola subbed off instead of Alvaro Saborio? While Saborio has been a no-show in his last few RSL performances, Espindola has been very dangerous before coming off. Maybe Kreis thought that RSL needed a target like Saborio. We will never know if the outcome could have been changed, but we can always wonder.
  3. Lastly, did Kyle Beckerman’s suspension affect the outcome of the game? I honestly don’t have an answer to this. Ned Grabavoy is a solid player, but he isn’t an amazing MLS player like Beckerman. Beckerman, at the very least, would have provided a great amount of leadership as well as possession for the game. With Beckerman the game is definitely different, though the result may have been the same.

It is a common saying in sports that “no one remembers the runner-ups, only the winners.” Ten years from now, will we remember the way RSL lost this Champions League Final? I think we will. We will remember this RSL team for giving us hope, the same hope that the USMNT gave us in the 2009 Confederations Cup. We will look back in 10 years and remember this year as the year that MLS finally closed the gap on the Mexican League. Though their still is a gap, it is much smaller. A MLS team will win the Champions League in the next 5 years and it will have RSL as its inspiration.

I believe that RSL will also use this as motivation. The team will go “Keyser Soze” on the rest of the league this season. I truly believe that this team could go the rest of the season without losing. This team could pick up 60 points. Really, with their depth and their newfound lack of complicity, the sky is the limit for this team.

Chris-WondolowskiMoving in another direction, I still want to keep updating weekly about the league, I have been doing the Golden Boot standings as well as the remaining unbeaten teams, but I am now going to add my GOAL TRACKER 2011: Wondo vs. Barrett. This of course is a reference to the five dollar bet (how I wish I had asked for odds) with my brother on who would score more goals this season. Of course being the eternal optimist, I took Barrett so it is added to the end of this section.

Golden Boot Standings (My Pick in Bold):

Player                           GP G A

1. Charlie Davies              5  5  0

2. Diego Chaves              6  4  0

3. Chris Wondolowski       6  3  1

4. David Ferreira              6  3  1

5. Camilo                        7  3  1

33083. Alvaro Saborio 2  0  0

Unbeaten Teams Remaining:

Real Salt Lake (note: not after their defeat at Portland on 4/30)

GOAL TRACKER 2011: Wondo vs Barrett

Wondo         Barrett

3                 2

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