I Want To Believe

So I watched the first 65 minutes or so of the RSL-Houston game last night, and you know what I saw? A paucity of good chances fashioned? Yeah. A game played at a frenetic pace that pretty much ignored midfield for direct play and featured unforced turnovers by the metric assload? Yeah, there was that. Jair Marrufo with a whistle again? WTF? Well, El Hunchbacko is back in Mexico and MLS has bigger fish to fry at the moment, so...

No. The thing that really bothered me as a DC United fan was watching two teams that knew what the hell they were doing in possession. Okay, so they didn't connect on all, hell most, of their passes. Sure, there was much more that was athletic than aesthetic. And the number of wasted possessions was criminal. But that ignores the fact that both teams played largely one and two-touch soccer and nobody looked at a loss about what to do with the rock at their feet. They had a plan. Runners were moving off the ball and the guys in possession knew where to put the ball to find those runners. And they played with desire.

That's not down to the quality of the players. That's the product of teamwork and confidence and a sense of clarity about the mission. That's down, in my opinion, to a firm hand on the rudder, a coach (and assorted staff) who knows how and why he wants to play a certain style and has the ability to instill that knowledge and belief in his players.

And that made the game doubly painful to watch. At times you'd be forgiven for thinking this was Charles Reep's wet dream, at others a breakneck pace suffered for the sheer exultation in speed for the sake of speed. It was unlovely. But it was also directed unloveliness, a product of leadership and motivation and, dare I say it, a plan.

I saw indications in the pre-season that we were starting to make ourselves hard to beat. I even saw some stretches in the Carolina Challenge Cup where we actually resembled at team rather than an assortment of individuals waiting for somebody else to make something happen on offense. Screw the fact that we're down some key cogs. The Revs are missing bigger chunks.

C'mon, Curt. C'mon, United. Impress me. Make me believe.

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