Well it definitely has not been the best couple of weeks for the team. Two losses, and on top of that an embarrassing loss at home (I won’t try to sugar coat it). Needless to say, all of us are not pleased with the past two results. Obviously the Chicago game was a rough one for all who were involved, be it a fan or a player. I am not going to sit here and try to make excuses for our poor performance. I don’t think there was one person on the field who was the least bit pleased with their performance that game, and how could any of us have been pleased. In a game that was talked about for a while (and blown a bit out of proportion by some fans and media) we simply did not show up. Plain and simple! A loss at home is always tough to swallow, but be it against a rival and a butt whooping…I can’t think of a worse case scenario. About the only thing you want to do after that game is forget about it. There are clearly many things we can take from that game; mistakes we made and lack of concentration. However, at the end of the day every guy on the team knows that performance was terrible and we have to do much, much better. So we have to put it in the past, and make sure that we do not have a repeat performance.
Last week we were in Houston, a place that especially in June, is not a very fun place to play at. It was another hot and humid night, and even though Houston was missing some key players, they were still able to field a solid team capable of getting a result. Although we were missing some key players ourselves (JP, Dave, and Claudio), we still had plenty of experience and talented players on the field to at least grab a point from that game. It was not the prettiest of games, but it was a game that we were definitely in a good position to get at least a point. We had talked all week about how Houston’s main strengths are their competitiveness and their set pieces. Needless to say, conceding a goal on a play that we discussed during the week in practice was frustrating. Give credit to them, they were aware of us turning our backs, and quickly put the ball back in play. Next thing we know, the ball is in the back of our net and we find ourselves down 1-0. Like I said earlier, I am not going to try and sugar coat or make excuses for why we lacked concentration at that particular moment. We, as a team, simply have to do better and limit the small mental mistakes that we are making, and costing us precious points.
Tomorrows game presents us with another good challenge against a team who is having their troubles with injuries, but have got great results in their past few games. Having said that, I believe that we have more then enough experience, speed, and skill to win this game. We just need to do a better job of possessing the ball; knowing the right times to attack, and the right times when maybe it is not on to go forward right away and just keep the ball. I think sometimes we try and force the ball forward to quickly right after we have won it from our opposition. More times then not, the opposition is most vulnerable when the ball is first turned over (because they have committed numbers forward and some players may be caught out of position). However, sometimes it is simply not on. You may not have the lane to pass the ball, or there may not be enough players forward to take advantage of the other team. Soccer is a balancing act of patience (keeping possession) and urgency (knowing when to attack the opponent at speed). If we can do a better job of balancing the two, I think we will find ourselves back in the win column.
On a lighter note, I would like to send a big CONGRATULATIONS to Dave Van Den Bergh and his wife for the birth of their new baby boy, Max. Both Dave’s wife and son are healthy and doing great. I know they are both happy and relieved that it is over with. Although, you can already tell that Dave is not getting as much sleep as he was. Guess that goes with the territory!
Well, I really hope to see you guys out at the game tomorrow. I know it is a weekday and many of you work, but we really do appreciate all of your support and we are eager to show you that our last two games are behind us and we are back to our winning ways!
As always, here are some of your questions:
Hello Hunter, what positions do you think need most strengthening in
the RBNY squad? I know the popular opinion among fans would be Left
footed defender, and center attacking mid, would you agree?
It is no secret that the positions we are probably the thinnest at would be left footed defender, left footed midfielder, and now with the move of Jozy I would say forward. Those are three areas that I would think are possibilities for us to improve in during the upcoming transfer window.
Hunter, who’s your pick to win the upcoming Euro 2008 tournament? Have
a dark horse pick?
My favorite to win would be Italy…and dark horse, the Swiss.
Hey Hunter, there are lots of rumors about Jozy slacking in training
a little bit, what is your opinion? Think he’s doing alright?
Well needless to say, I think if you have been reading anything on the Internet today you have seen that Jozy has been sold to Villarreal. Needless to say, he will not be with us much longer and I only wish him the best. Definitely a dream come true, and I am excited for him.
Hunter, do you ever play pickup games on the side for fun? or are you
a little sick of soccer during your off time?
I don’t usually play soccer in my off time. I get quite a bit of soccer in every other day! Although, I have been known to play soccer tennis with my friends occasionally. That’s as close as I get to playing soccer in my off time.
Do you have any questions, comments, mixtapes or anything else to say to Hunter? Send them to Hunter@americansoccerreader.com