Definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. With relatively the same cast of characters and the same starting formation used in the previous four games totaling about same statistics we’ve come to expect, the Quakes marched into Rio Tinto on Friday night, grabbed a point, and left on what can only be described as one of the most bizarre games they have ever played.
Luck was on the Quakes’s side as we benefited from a blown offside call. Wondo found the ball at his feet after a Shea shot ricocheted to him at the top of the penalty area at 19′. Wondo blasted the shot home, paused to wait for the AR to raise his flag, then proceeded to celebrate. I tried to justify it by saying Beckerman got a touch on the ball right before Wondo kicked, it, which would have put him onside as Beckerman’s foot was just ahead of Wondo, but let’s be honest: he was clearly offside. Sorry, RSL.
But the soccer gods made amends. RSL benefited from Bernardez own-goal as he reached to clear the ball from Alvaro Saborio and coolly kicked it over Bingham for his first goal of the season at 71′. It’s not Bernardez’s first own-goal for the Quakes, either. Apparently his spray-and-pray style of shooting applies to clearing the ball on defense as well.
Not to be outdone by the Quakes, the refs had their own version of bizarre officiating. They tacked on 10 extra minutes of total stoppage time, including a four-minute span in the first half. They also called 37 fouls, a potential season record (can anyone verify?). Ironically, the one foul they didn’t call was Kyle Beckerman’s vicious kick to MPG’s knee that would make Bobby of the Cobra Kai jealous (I think I heard a fan shout “Get him a body bag!”). It would have been Beckerman’s second yellow.
The Quakes are getting worse, and my faith in Dom is dwindling. Don’t believe me? They had 241 total passes (I believe that is a league-worst this year), and only completed 59.9% (definitely a league worst). This means that they turned the ball over almost half they time they touched it. By comparison, RSL had 390 passes with a 74% accuracy.
Possession? RSL dominated with 62% to the Quakes 38%, which is the worst of the season for us. RSL even had a 52% possession rating in the final third, which means they controlled the ball more in our defensive third than we did, yet managed ZERO shots on goal. They had five scoring chances to our three.
In short, the Quakes scored BOTH goals in a game in which they were dominated in almost every major category. A final of 1-1 was more than a fair result for the Quakes, despite the own-goal which gave RSL a point at home.
Dom Kinnear looks more determined than ever to drive the ship into the iceberg than change course. Apparently he never read my open letter. 🙁
Exhibit A: We have a huge problem maintaining possession. Bernardez, Alashe, and Cato/MPG led the team in touches (39, 37, and 36 respectively). RSL had EIGHT players with 42 or more touches; their starters who played the whole game AVERAGED 49 touches. MPG had 24 passes for a 62.5% accuracy. Beckerman? 40 passes on 50 touches, 80% accuracy. Our midfielders are not controlling the ball, which means we are not setting up the attack. Part of the problem has to do with Exhibit B.
Exhibit B: The inconsistent formations. One minute Wondo is at forward. Then he’s playing midfield and kicking the ball for Innocent or playing deep in the box. Then Nyassi is forward, then he’s back at mid as Wondo goes up to play forward. Then Shea is forward . . . well, you get the point. The formations change throughout the game (is this on purpose?), which is causing us problems in possession. Rather than being in a position where they can string passes together, guys are haphazardly running all over the place. Yes, it might confuse the defense, but it also confuses the offense, as we have so agonizingly seen these past few games.
Exhibit C: We are not changing the line-ups, and getting the same results. Since the Chicago game, we have scored three goals in five games: one of them was Wondo’s gift by the AR on Friday and the other was a PK which Goodson sold to the ref, so in reality we’ve just scored one “real” goal in five games. I feel the bulk of the blame goes toward Nyassi. He has started, and been subbed out, in each of these games. Granted he had one of his better games on Friday, but it still does not excuse the fact he only had 13 passes and 61% accuracy. If he can’t give a consistent game, or play the full 90 every time, he needs to be on the bench, ESPECIALLY with Tommy waiting to shine. I also would like to see what Fucito can bring since Jahn has been extremely inconsistent, or possibly Khari since JB is injured.
Overall, I am resting in the fact that we may be a bit rusty after a week off, and it’s still early in the season. But if things don’t start changing on the field, the scoreboard results won’t change anytime soon, either.
Clarence “Clearance” Goodson continues to be a stud, along with Bingham. Easily our two best players.
Bernardez: Zero shots on goal, yet he scored an own-goal. I want to see Renato in place of Bernardez.
Cato and Wynne seemed to do well as defensive wings, but I still want Stewart back there.
Nyassi: had a better game, but not good enough. Time for a change a-la Tommy Thompson, although Tommy’s 16,7% pass efficiency on Friday won’t win him the starting job.
Shea: set up Wondo’s goal, right? Jury is still out. Give him more starts and let’s see what he can do without Nyassi for once.
Wondo just isn’t a midfielder. I think it’s time to stop with that experiment. Also, we need more out of our midfielders.
Innocent: Dude is playing frustrated, resulting in a lot of cards. I want to see him to do well, but you can’t fault him for being frustrated at the lack of scoring opportunities because we can’t get the ball to him.
Jahn: Had another bad game. Did you know he only had a 38.5% passing accuracy rating??
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