Well, that's over. We're not officially eliminated from the Champions' League, but given away trips to Saprissa and Cruz Azul, I'll call a spade a spade. That said . . . Christ, we should've run out the reserves against Dallas. They might've played a damn sight better than the starters given what I've just witnessed. Take it as given for the opinioneering that follows that I missed the first half, so my reaction may be even further afield than usual. Telefutura's halftime highlights gave the majority of the good chances to United and only showed Wells flapping at a single Cruz Azul cross leading to chaos in the box. Understood? Let's hit those talking points . . .
* Up until Cruz Azul scored, I was thinking that our defense was actually looking reasonably competent ((for the most part) have I added enough qualifiers yet?). Given the personnel--Burch in the middle, Wells in net, and three rooks--and our opponents, that came as something of a shock. How is it that we look so hapless with veterans running the show? Was it just that Cruz Azul were sitting back and not forcing us to make the decisions that ultimately lead to the let-downs? Was it that we returned to the two d-mid setup in midfield that seemed to do the trick the last time we were in a tailspin? I'll choose to ignore the gaps that started happening later on as a consequence of pressing for the equalizer with one noteworthy exception. Cruz Azul never got a second. Novel occurrence for this team, isn't it?
* Khumalo was instant energy off the bench, but faded almost as quickly. I haven't had the benefit of seeing too much of Khumalo, given my recent lack of televised viewing, but he certainly looked like he'd be a useful super-sub. In other African attacker news, Doe made a couple of promising runs as well, but never really threatened to finish.
* Dyachenko with the mandatory yellow for an awful challenge. I didn't note too much else besides this from Iron Rod. Well, beyond the standard killing of several quick counters. Will Seattle take him off our hands or does USL beckon?
* I hate to pile on the dude, but . . . why the heck was Wells diving on the goal? Having watched the replay a handful of times, that shot was going well wide. Sure it was hit with some venom, but Wells was already almost at his post. What was the dive accomplishing besides looking pretty for the cameras?
* Ryan Miller? Geez, talk about clearing the bench.
So we punted. Or at least we tried to punt. The fact that we only went down 1-0, and to a wildly deflected shot at that, says a few things to me. (1) Maybe Cruz Azul aren't all that (though the fact that they stomped Saprissa limits that assumption). (2) Maybe some of our reserves are halfway competent and should've been picking up some minutes prior to our entire starting lineup either breaking down or looking worn to the bone. (3) Maybe we should try to punt in our next MLS game and see if this is a trend.
Just kidding on that last one (I think). So much for our initial foray into the CCL. Time to buckle down and focus on picking up some points in the league. Not that I expect us to do so. Count me amongst the doom-and-gloom mongers, but I'll be here till the end, huddled in front of my computer, bathed in the the LCD backlight and hoping against hope . . .