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Defense has been an area of concern because in Real’s last four losses, they’ve given up at least two goals.
"You have to stand up for each other in a way that’s constructive," Lagerwey said. "You have to react by showing enough discipline to beat the other team. What any of us thinks about the officiating doesn’t matter."
Ned Grabavoy said much of the above has led to inconsistency, a surprise failing since, in Real’s best times, consistency had been a team strength: "Things haven’t been going our way — bounces and calls, and that affects us mentally. Then, you see mistakes. It does no good to panic. That makes it worse. But the ceiling for this team is high. Are we at that ceiling right now? No. But there’s enough talent and leadership here to turn it around."
RSL got talented reinforcements when Lagerwey acquired three new players following the substandard showing in the Open Cup game, but injuries haven’t helped RSL. Truth is, the club hasn’t fielded its top 11 players in any single game since May of last year. But injuries plague every team.
Real needs to deal with that and, as Morales said, "move on."
Their core is older now, many of the veterans at or around 30 years old. There is some younger talent in the pipeline, but, if RSL is going to capitalize on their gifted roster, if they’re going to advance again in CONCACAF play and earn another MLS Cup, they’ll have to do it sooner, not later.
"This is a difficult patch," Kreis said. "I prefer to take it game by game."
At this point, RSL has to take it minute by minute — and quit betraying themselves with stupid decisions and sloppy play. Both are beneath what should be the best team in American soccer.
GORDON MONSON hosts "The Big Show" weekdays from 3-7 p.m. on 1280 and 960 AM The Zone. Twitter: @GordonMonson.
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