View from the Upper Deck
By Charles Barnard
The sky is falling! The sky is falling!
I am sure that was the reaction of some RSL fans on social media after last week’s loss in Champions League. And I think that reaction would be very harsh. For the first 60 minutes of the match the team actually looked really good. Would I have liked a better result than a 2-0 loss? Of course I would have. But on the whole I think RSL put forth a very respectable effort all things considered.
Now that we have seen the team in action, I think some questions do need to be addressed. My biggest frustration at the end of the match was Coach Cassar not using his third sub. I think this might be my biggest pet peeve in soccer. In my mind, you have three subs and you should use them! Especially when it was clear to see the team was running out of gas.
After expressing these thoughts on Twitter, @JKBranin made a very good point that got me thinking.
“Who would you have subbed in/out? Half of me is frustrated it wasn’t used. Half of me is frustrated there was no one worth bringing in.”
Who would I have brought in? I don’t know. While unlike some I am a big fan of Sandoval. But I don’t think he is what was needed in that match. And who would you take out for him? I guess Stertzer could have been an option. You didn’t need Glad or Wingert in that match.
You know who would have been a good option? Luis Silva. I am sure he was somewhere in the stadium but he wasn’t wearing an RSL kit. What about Mansally? I would have liked to seen his fresh legs getting forward into the attack. What about Jaime coming in providing a spark off the bench?
Now I know even if we still had all these players on the roster that they wouldn’t have all been on the bench the other night. But it leads me to a question. Do we have a depth problem on the team this season? Yes, we all know and are worried about our lack of depth at center back. That is a huge issue. But I am talking about the lack of depth for the whole team in general.
I don’t think I really thought about this too much in the off season. Did the signing of Yura blind me to how many players we actually lost? Just look at the list.
Honestly did I want all of these players to come back? Absolutely not. We needed to shake things up. The point I am wondering is this. Did we bring enough talent to not only replace these players but to also improve as a team?
I went back and added up minutes played for players that were on the roster last year that are no longer with the team. The total came to 7658 minutes. That is a lot of minutes to replace. The breakdown of those minutes is 2515 for forwards, 2116 for midfielders, and 3027 on the back line. Those minutes will have to be filled. The question is who is going to fill them?
Now I am sure that Yura will take up a big chunk of that time. And Burrito and Plata will (knock on wood) play more minutes than they did last season. Sunday will take up some of those minutes as well (or steal minutes from Luke). I think these are upgrades to what we had last season. And hopefully the team will get some good luck and sign a center back or two.
Is the sky falling? There is no way you can say that after one game. My question is during the dog days of summer when players start getting injured do we have enough quality off the bench to keep us competitive? That question can’t be answered today, especially since our roster is not set in stone. But I do think it is a question that we as fans should keep our eyes on over the course of the season.