I'm sure some people will be making excuses for the weather, the officials... any number of things, really... as reasons the SKC run in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup came to a screeching halt. Fact is, it seemed there were people on the field that didn't take the Richmond Kickers seriously, and when you get to this stage of a tournament, any tournament, you can't do that. Well, you can, but you do so at your peril.
To his credit, manager Peter Vermes is as incredibly "ticked" to use his word as most fans are. After the game, he said that practice won't be much fun the next few days. It shouldn't be. How, if you're a professional athlete, do you forget everything that had gotten you through the last 12 games unbeaten across all competitions? How, if you're taking pride in your performance as a soccer player, do you let a game end like that. When you come up on a delay like that, treat it like an intermission that will allow you to refocus your efforts.
I'm a supporter of the team, and have been since the beginning. I'm saying these things because I'm just as miserable that they lost as they are (or pretty darn close). I'm mad, like Peter Vermes, that people seemed like they were just going through the motions, especially after the 2nd goal. I'm upset because I want the team to do well every day, in everything they do. I'll get over it, eventually. I always do. At the same time, I want the players to remember how this feels and use it as fuel to do better next time. While dropping out of the US Open Cup closes one path to the CONCACAF Champions League, there is still another open to us, the league title. I just don't want the way the team went out of the cup to affect league play. They still have a 10-game unbeaten streak in MLS play and they still haven't given up more than 1 goal in 11 straight league games.
On a more positive note, I've acquired a copy of the team's all-time roster (as provided to them by the Elias Sports Bureau). Over the next few days/weeks, I'm going to be putting on my detective's hat and go look for them. Well, not literally look, but using the power of the Internet, I'm going to try and find as many of them as I possibly can and report back on what they're up to. It's going to be a lot of work, but it may be a lot of fun, too.
That's all for now. See you soon.
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