The Monday After Salt Lake: Fear and Loathing in North Dallas

Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

For many fans, there is nothing but cynicism and bitterness left in this season.

Let's point out some (very obvious) bad news:

The game against RSL was mostly a pointless exercise, as are the rest of the remaining games.

Dallas has a chance but, despite my near-sightedness for my team, one should always strive to see things clearly and fairly. That being said, there are no realistic expectations that Dallas could make the playoffs. The only reason there is a smidgen of hope is because mathematics dictates that it's technically possible.

The optimist's approach to this match would have been to look at this game with a more long-term view of things, and perhaps focus on the good things the team did. But that's an exceptionally hard thing to do when you see the coach and players more or less doing whatever they wanted without much rhyme or reason.

Lack of Interest

I have defended David Ferreira loudly frequently, but if he can't be bothered to give a toss about how hard he's trying, I can't either. The only thing that can be said in his defense (and it's a powerful argument) is that if he believes the coach and team are a lost cause, there's little reason to play hard. You can argue his salary, his pride, or any number of things, but it ultimately comes down to him being human.

This goes for all the players on the field, in fact. At least the players who should be playing better but look visibly disinterested, or who clearly look like they're giving about 50% on the field.

They're human, and I believe a lot of what has been ailing this team has been a combination lack of belief, and frustration at the coaching and tactics that they would dare not voice. Everyone knows what happens to players who voice any kind of criticism or concerns regarding the team and its setup to Mr. Schellas Hyndman.

This is where you can somewhat begin to understand and forgive what we're seeing out of many players.

A Dollop of Empathy

Have you ever worked for a boss or project that is clearly destined for failure? It's really, really hard to give 100% effort, or even 75% effort, into something you can't see succeeding. It's hard to really try and find solutions for a boss who doesn't seem to be interested in listening or adapting. It's even harder when changes do come, but don't make any sense to observers or even the people involved.

Humans are fallible, athletes are human, and I can't say that I blame them for walking around like mindless zombies. Their season is over and they know it.

Other teams might play just as hard once their season is over, but those teams are usually still sticking together as a unit. They might believe they had bad luck, or lacked the personnel, or that they just need time to figure it out. This team isn't playing like they believe there's anything positive to look forward to after the season is over. That's the most telling sign that this team has quit on the coach, and there are very few instances where similar situations to this worked out in the end.

It's ultimately very confusing.

There should be anger rightfully directed at the players for their clear lack of effort, but there should also be some understanding. We cannot realistically expect them to act like different creatures than we are. Motivation can be sapped by incompetence alone, and it's clear that motivation is a massive part of what's wrong with this team, tactics being the other.

Bad tactics cause losses, continued losses cause players to seek changes, changes happen haphazardly or not at all, and then the motivation and effort drops. That lack of motivation adds itself to the poor tactics, and the losses and ugly draws become more pronounced and frequent.

It's confusing alright.

This must be what it's like to be a Englishman cheering for their national team. You can see the talent is good, and yet none of it comes together the way it should.

It's ridiculous and unnecessary, and it's time for it to end. No time should be wasted. The players should go into the offseason feeling hopeful that their owners have their backs and are willing to uproot one of the major causes of this downward spiral.

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