Tot almost, and amazingly I might add, almost get a draw playing 1/2 the game the 9 men. Would have been a defensive thing of beauty, but Ake comes through with a goal in extra time to push Bournemouth to a 1-0 win. Good ole Ake. Still with Chelsea Blue in his veins. Atta boy.
Absolutely no one not named City or Liverpool wants to play in the CL next year. Chelsea can take 3rd place outright with a win against Watford tomorrow. So, that means they'll get beat 0-3 and give up point differential to boot.
Here's what I've come to acknowledge over the past couple months.
1. I shouldn't pretend know anything about predicting SKC success or failure.
2. I'm still going to do it.
SKC had/has all the pieces in place for an amazing year. Injuries hit. Players were/are put in bad positions and fail expectedly. Some of the incoming transfers have been disasters. And here we are, sitting at 2-4-3 on the year, good for 10th place in the Western division.
Playing in the Concacaf CL ended up being a killer. With depth an issue, it only set us up for failure in the CL, but also to start the regular MLS season. Out-manned, out-spent, out-talented, out-played by mid-season form teams. Nice run, but at what cost? Exposed in the end by a much better Monterey squad. All completely expected.
Audi numbers say we are, indeed, playing horrible team soccer. Individual stats are straight depressing.
Players are already tired or they are hurt from overuse a mere 15 or so games into the season. That's what poor depth and old players gets you when playing 2 games a week before mid-season conditioning. Zusi? Old, slow and appears suddenly overmatched by any winger with a pulse. Espinoza? Hurt. Without him, we get destroyed in midfield. Rowe? Just a horrible addition who literally adds nothing positive to the team either defending, going forward or with possession. Besler? Hurt. Busio? Great talent at 16 yo but complete liability in midfield and not attacking. Croizet? Lotsa effort, nothing to show for it. Getting punished at LB. Fontas? Setting records for letting free runs behind him per game. Salloi? The once-promising attacker is hurt and disappears when he does play for large, large stretches. And those are just the guys off the top of my head.
But, there are reasons aplenty why things will turn around. Roger will get healthy. Gutierrez and Ilie are upper-tier MLS players. Besler will recover. Sinovic's place in Vermes doghouse will eventually pass. Nemeth has been playing really well all year. Gerso is still dangerous, even if he has horrible ball control. Johnny Russell is still running at defenders and creating. Melia isn't going to have to defend in-on-goal chances 5 times every game. Barath has been, honestly, quite good, and certainly should un-seat Fontas along the backline. That's 10 players that can and will lead to seriously better results. Assuming everyone gets relatively healthy again. Here's hoping by the time we can get a real MLS quality team back on the field, it won't be too late.