from the outset of this post i need to apologize. i am still suffering the hangover of disappointment and anger from sunday, and the next 900 words will better reflect the thoughts of an unhealthy mind fed with repetitive thoughts of spiking milk with decon than the usual fun and cheery cheer that comes from my malcontent imagination.
i did not travel to seattle on sunday with the anticipation of watching the timbers break their road duck. the fact is seattle is an exceptionally talented team, with players who surpass the talent level of nearly every member of the timber squad. it was not an easy request of our boys to make, but expecting them to scrap out a match should not be the equivalent of turning water to wine. as stated in my match review, the frustration from sunday developed the moment i realized the ginger interim had informed the squad he had little concern for the night. you may question how players could take the changes in the squad as a capitulation--well, players know. whether they spill it on twatterverse or not, they know.
so much has been hashed and rehashed in the discussion of the given reasons for starting rodney wallace and lovel palmer ahead of steven smith and kosuke kimura. but even through those discussions i simply cannot come to terms with the answer, and the more i attempt to comprehend the less likely my frustrations will be assuaged. how could someone charged with directing the organization forward and to win games (after all, winning games is what sport is about) choose the most important night in the timbers rather pathetic season to conduct an audition for next year?
i hate to single out horst, because overall he was the best thing going on the pitch sunday night, which says quite a bit about the level of play we were forced to endure. but when i pulled up the league official site last night i was reminded of the very thing missing in this club--leadership. sunday was the most important game of the season, so there should have been no question of "getting up" for it. but when the coach, the leader of the side (even if only the interim ginger), informs the players he wants to perform a working interview rather than make a try for the cup, he has made it hard for them to get up. considering what the interim ginger did, horst's statements yesterday are a bitter pill
I don’t know if we were right going into the Seattle game. Maybe we just thought we could get up for the game, but that’s not how it works. All year we’ve been able to get up for big games, and finally it bit us in the ass a little bit. We have to start being better pros and being properly prepared for the games.
the typical blueprint of professionalism comes from the boss, the manager, and that philosophy is then woven into the cloth of the team. what does it say about a team when the interim manager is so concerned about tomorrow that he avoids the responsibilities of today? mccauley gets it, and he expects the squad to get it:
It was a terrible trip, and we need to motivate ourselves to make sure we’re right at it again for the other local rivals. The players know what responsibility they have toward the team and the organization, and they’ve got the opportunity to go out and put right was wrong over the weekend.
but then there remains the question of why? why would they get up for such a game when the interim ginger had no intention of fielding his best available side? it may be a point that suffers from the "duh" moment of the post, but players want to play with the best players, not the also-rans. as much as it warms the cockles of my heart to be assured that the players know they have a responsibility to the organization, i am left with one question: does gavin? as often as the interim ginger has stated the importance the cascadia cup holds within the organization's plans, it is lip service to the statement made by not trying. sure, he said:
From the start of the season. Last season. The Cascadia Cup is second on the list behind MLS Cup.
and, sure, he also said:
Some lofty aspirations...so far, not so good. But Cascadia Cup was on that list. Let’s get it done!
but he also said that he was in a position that he did not want to be in--coaching the timbers. and as much as he may say he cares as much as the fans do, he did little to show that concern and passion on sunday.
he chose not to include a player who plays with more guts and dedication than the known quantity, the rodwall. even more frustrating is the fact rodney wallace has been with the timbers ever since dax mccartey was traded to dc united. in other words, he has been with the timbers from the beginning of the club's induction into the mls. if in the last two years the rodwall has not made an impression of significant weight, forcing his way into the interim ginger's plans for the future, how is one more game going to change his approach to the off-season?
moreover, did he really need seattle away to instruct his opinion on the defensive frailties of facepalmer? as defensively suspect kimura may be, at least he is willing to place a body on an attacker as well as support the wing. these are simple aspects of the back position that seem to go unnoticed by facepalmer. zizzo had a terrible first half, but it is not hard to understand when his support was incapable of actual support.
for the sake of my sanity and, likely, the sanity of you readers, i hesitate to discuss the inept substitutions that occurred. so i will stop here, because the more i write the more i begin to think gavin was not singing show tunes from annie the musical, dreaming of tomorrow, tomorrow. instead, he appeared to be channelling his innate and ruthless jackie earle haley coaching tactics, making a point to all us buttermakers that he can control the outcome of a game simply by holding up the play of the ball, or not. and that theory leaves me paranoid and in even worse spirits than when i began this post.
i hate caring like i do.