Real Salt Lake already seems to have an attitude -- not an altitude -- problem. Players were quick to point out that the 4,500 feet of altitude at Rio Tinto Stadium may have played a factor in their 1-1 draw to the LA Galaxy on Saturday, March 22. Since it’s something they’d have never said on Jason Kreis’ watch -- you have to wonder if they’re having trouble finding an excuse worthy of telling us media to bugger off.
After a 1-0 season opening win over these same Galaxy on the road provided a nice glimpse into RSL’s immediate future, a 3-1 lead last week at San Jose evaporated and transformed a dominant performance into a manageable 3-3 draw.
Instead of claiming responsibility for the two consecutive draws, RSL head coach Jeff Cassar has made a litany of excuses about his team’s play, the field conditions and other assorted things as Cassar continued his pride party as “Life After Jason“ entered its third week. Here are five reasons you should worry about this 1-1 draw to LA.
Jeff Cassar is too prideful
“… We were just a little bit off in our possession and attacking ideas, but I was really proud of our guys for our defensive shape for most of the game,“ Cassar said in part at his post-game press conference.
Are we handing out orange wedges with our praise now? His defense was back on its heels most of the game; his midfield couldn’t string together passes if it wanted (it barely won the possession battle 52-48 percent).
Most worrisome? His forwards were MIA other than Saborio’s goal -- a gift from Joao Plata before he too went out with a hamstring injury minutes later.
Kyle Beckerman is complaining about altitude
Jason Kreis would have complained about the altitude over his dead body -- instead preferring to have his players train at a higher elevation above his Park City home. (It’s higher than what RSL plays at in Sandy’s Rio Tinto Stadium.)
In other words, the players are complaining about nothing. What should concern most RSL fans -- if it already isn’t -- is team captain Kyle Beckerman holding the excuses torch high above his dreadlocked forehead as a beacon of malcontent.
“It wasn’t our greatest soccer game, but I think that happens sometimes when it’s our first home game back in the altitude,” Beckerman said.
Alvaro Saborio won’t fight for loose balls
Why won’t this guy stick himself in for loose balls? Unless the pass is gift-wrapped and no player is within 10 feet (see Saborio’s 18th minute goal) as he coolly kicks it into the old onion bag, Saborio hasn’t scored this season.
His goal on Saturday, March 22 was his first of the season. He is supposed to be RSL’s leading scorer but for whatever reason -- arguably laziness -- he’s not.
Joao Plata is, and now that guy is out for who knows how long with a pulled hammy.
Nat Borchers is pointing fingers
Borchers has been a mainstay for RSL since forever. So that he’s quick to point the trigger at the offense -- and not at his own defense that gave up LA’s only goal of the game -- should sound alarms.
Do you think he placed blame on his defense, or on Chris Schuler juked out of his BVD‘s by Robbie Keane, or on defender Chris Wingert losing the ball on a bad touch as he wandered into the Galaxy’s end that led to LA‘s only goal? Not hardly.
“I thought Schuler had a great game. He was physical with Rob Friend, he won all those battles in the air, good spots. I thought Tony [Beltran] and [Chris] Wingert had a great game as well…” Borchers said in part.
What is Real Salt Lake saying? That players are already taking this very dangerous route towards absolute mediocrity -- and not pointing to the massive lapses in defense that have now cost the club four points out of six in the past two games -- is cause for concern. Period.