Yeah. It’s that bad now. The mystery has reached Holmesian proportions.
A few months ago I was writing about how Jon Busch had a career match on the road against the Fort Lauderdale Strikers. Writing that piece felt good.
This weekend’s match was not nearly as good–for Jon Busch or the rest of the team. And while writing this may not stir up the good memories of the Buschy show-stoppers we’ve all grown accustomed to, I do hope it will at least be cathartic. For both of us.
It was upsetting how poorly the Eleven played.
Good, good, that one’s clear of the vocal chords now. Keep letting it out…
It is eternally discouraging how the boys cannot seem to get a win on the road.
That one still hurts…
Dear Watson, I Write To Inform You of Certain Events…
Here’s the wonderful thing, though. This isn’t entitlement-era whining, it’s just that this club is so good we’ve come to expect better. We’re not spoiled, we simply know what this team is capable of and while watching a match like Saturday’s we easily identify that this team is not playing to its potential.
Jon Busch had a really rough game. After a great save early on against a set piece, he began to tumble downhill. His defenders were not making it easy on him, but even that cannot excuse his being out of position on two different goals. The second goal was admittedly odd and unexpected, and yes, Janicki should have been covering the back post once he saw his keeper was out of position.
Janicki would go on to make a few great saves himself, but the whole team still ended up sharing responsibility for the loss and that centerback position was most suspect. Corey Miller uncharacteristically struggled with his own positioning, often wandering far afield and resulting in Vukovich having to come out of his own position to cover for Miller.
The absence of Captain Falvey clearly hung over the backline for the majority of the first half and all of the second. General disorganization prevailed and culminated with Brad Ring’s dire handball in the box and Carolina’s penalty kick and joy.
It’s Hard to Dance With a Devil On Your Back
Shake it off.
Perhaps we should reach for a nugget and point out that Eamon Zayed got off the snide, but it was merely on a PK gifted by Youla and a desperate RailHawk defender. Truthfully, his struggles from the past few weeks carried well over into this match. Dubbed “Raton” for his ability to sniff out and seize upon short chances in front of the net, Eamon has instead missed open nets multiple times at point-blank range over the Eleven’s recent matches.
It’s not like him. Again, it’s upsetting because we know he can do better.
Getting Eamon back into form is shaping up to be a top priority. Hopefully the PK will boost his confidence, regardless of the context.
But the number one priority for this team continues to be, simply:
Win on the road. It must be done. Soon.
The temptation is there to sit back and remember, “Hey, we’ve got it good–we won the Spring Championship! We’re guaranteed a playoff match, and that’s at home!” But if we want the Championship match at home then some matches will have to be won on the road–now–in order to get there. And regardless of that, while we continue to struggle the other top teams are winning on the road. They’ll have confidence when they meet us at home next. How much confidence will the Eleven have left if they lose August’s road campaign?
Shake that monkey, boys.