Truly, I've never seen anything like it. Atiba Harris and Kellyn Acosta supporters battled in the polls late last week for one of the biggest vote totals we've had here on this little poll. Atiba came away with the win, 68 votes in total, and 60 for Kellyn. Good games for both, but we only have one Workhorse of the Week winner.
I was a bit worn out on Saturday, but I labored through it, staying up late to watch what I hoped was another vintage Pareja coaching wizardry against a somewhat depleted San Jose side. It was a snooze fest. Carlos Lizarazo made his first start, and he was an offensive black hole, giving away the ball, missing teammates, and falling down everywhere. I feel bad for the guy, but after a couple of years of injuries, the question may be what it will take to get a fire going in him. Our defense welcomed the return of Matt Hedges, and he played pretty well. Overall, getting a shutout is no laughing matter, especially on the road. Otherwise, nothing seemed to click. San Jose limited Mauro Diaz, and Castillo couldn't get anything going either. Just a bore night.
Here's my takeaways:
1 - Road points are precious. Soccer is like most other sports - teams try to win lots of games. But the added permutation of draws makes it a little more intriguing all around. A draw on the road can be pretty awful to watch, but that point can end up being the difference in playoff positioning or supporter's shield stakes later on. It's fascinating.
2 - Getting Hedges back as quickly as we did was great, but Zach Loyd remains the odd man out. He'll get his starts, but you still wonder how to get all of our best defenders on the field together. Will Pareja slot Zach back out on the right? Or is he a pure CB now?
3 - Should Pareja have second guessed himself? Wouldn't this game potentially have been better served with Mauro Rosales getting his first start of the year? Why Lizarazo? What did Pareja see in him that gave him the confidence to throw him to the wolves? I don't know, but I do hope we get to see a capable Lizarazo emerge in the coming months.
Take a few moments, comment below, and vote.
This Week's Strong Recommendations
The Back Line
A vote for a solid defensive outing are good votes - Matt Hedges, Walker Zimmerman, Ryan Hollingshead, Atiba Harris, and Chris Seitz all did some decent work. I'm not saying any of them were spectacular, but a point on the road is a point on the road.
Kellyn Acosta & Victor Ulloa
Give these guys some love. They looked good out there.