When RSL gave up a late goal on Wednesday night in Champions League play, it was because they were pushing everything forward looking for a second goal to stay alive in their series and it felt great at the end. Effort, heart, passion, desire all were shown in spades on Wednesday night, so what would happen on Sunday?
Well early on Orlando gets a goal called back on an offside call (iffy at best), and you know the saying that “the ball don’t lie” well we would find out much later how true that is. First it would be two early yellow cards to Demar Phillips (not sure why he was starting vs Chris Wingert in the first place) that would send RSL down a man with 70 minutes to go. It was just a few minutes later that Chris Penso points to the PK spot and this time Joao Plata steps up and coverts it to give RSL a 1-0 lead in the 26th minute. As often has been the case RSL played better with 10 men than they were with 11 men, but before the half would end things would level. Not the score but a straight red card to Darwin Ceren would mean both sides would play the second half with 10 men.
In the second half RSL would continue to create some chances and in the 66th minute one pretty goal would give them a 2-0 lead as Joao Plata would get his second of the day on a great play started by Burrito that lead to a sublime cross by Tony Beltran that Plata put into the back of the net. RSL would force Orlando to chase them for the remainder of the match, but in stoppage time things simply would go all wrong in a hurry.
If you happened to turn the match off or step away as we hit stoppage time, well you should know better, remember that last year RSL gave up 14 goals in the last 15 minutes of matches, while only scoring 5. Orlando on the other hand had scored 12 and given up 16, so them getting one in stoppage time was no surprise. The surprise came that off the restart they scored another one in under a minute to level the score at 2-2 on the final kick of the match.
So a gut punch of a final two minutes as RSL simply appeared to have turned off or tuned out, and gave up two goals and two points in a match where for 90 minutes they had worked so hard to get all 3 points. These types of mental lapses have to stop, we saw it all last year and now in the first MLS match it happens, we saw it in leg 1 of the Champions League match. If you are looking for who to blame you have to in both of these cases blame our centerbacks, poor marking, poor timing, and not paying attention. However you also have to place blame on the coaching staff, this was something that had to be addressed in the preseason, that stats from last year should have shined like a lighthouse lamp that we had to finish matches better.
RSL Head Coach Jeff Cassar made the following comments post match:
Thoughts on the team’s overall performance
“The last six minutes we became fatigued on discipline, not recognizing the dangers and we paid the price. Things happen fast and this is a coaching point for us and you have to finish out the game, finish out every play all the way to the end. Crazy things happen and that was pretty crazy.”
Thoughts on the end of the game and key factors
“Our schedule has been busy and I’m not going to use that as excuse, but our guys have gone through a lot. I thought the guys played well in all the games and were very focused and in tune. This one we unraveled at a poor time and give credit to Orlando City, to be putting the ball in dangerous areas and over the top and sometimes the dam breaks, but we shouldn’t let it happen.”
Anything positive I want to say about various performances during the match, just went out the window in that collapse. So instead I will just start to look forward towards the match next weekend, a match at home where RSL needs a win for a number of reasons. We will talk about those as the week goes along.
That’s How I See It