We’re at what most people would consider the halfway point of the season (even though we’ve only played 15 games and have 19 left) and I feel it’s important for every Sporting fan to hear this. One thing I’ve learned in this profession is if you want to be successful, everyone needs to be on the same page. That means having real, honest and sometimes difficult conversations. And since I’ve always viewed you as a vital part of our team, it’s important you’re a part of this conversation.
I believe we started the year well. Every player voluntarily came in two weeks early, and we accelerated our preseason faster than ever before in order to give ourselves a chance at making a run in the Concacaf Champions League. Despite being the last MLS team standing, we eventually fell short, and I underestimated how difficult it would be to move on (physically and mentally) immediately after. That’s on me...live and learn.
Still, we managed to juggle both CCL and MLS league play early on and put ourselves in a decent position to start the season, capped off with a historic 7-1 win at home.
Then the injuries came. I believe in order to have success in this league, you need consistency in both personnel and performances. We had neither for a few weeks, which made it difficult to get positive results.
Now we’re getting healthier, but we clearly still have a lot of work ahead. We’ve got to get better defensively. We simply can’t allow some of the goals we’re giving up. We also need to be better at finishing our chances when we get them. And we need to be better in the second half of games, specifically closing games out. All these have to be improved upon. If not, Peter will have to find players who can.
Speaking of Peter, we wouldn’t be having this conversation if it wasn’t for him and his expectations and accountability. He’s the best leader of an organization in our league, and it’s not close. Shame on you if you don’t realize it. Ask any player, current or former, and everyone says the same thing: "He’s one of the best coaches I’ve ever played for.” And the only reason players might not say THE BEST is simply out of respect for all the other coaches they’ve had. One of Peter’s best qualities is his ability to get a group of people on the same page and buy into an idea and belief. That will never change.
To summarize, I’m frustrated, confused and uncomfortable with where we’re at right now. Things haven’t gone as expected, and we’re in a position we haven’t been in for a very long time. Right now we’re below the playoff line. From 2012-2018, we spent one game below the playoff line in June or later. ONE. That’s out of almost 150 regular season games. That’s crazy. It means our club is not used to being in this position and doesn’t have experience dealing with it. Which is why we’re feeling the emotions I mentioned.
However, it’s on us to embrace our position, even if it’s uncomfortable. If you want to give up on the season already, that’s OK, it’s your choice. We hope to prove you wrong. If you want to stick with us through it all, great. We hope to honor your loyalty. It will be a different challenge than in years past, but I’m confident we’ll respond in the right way. And when we do, we’ll be much stronger than before. Let’s go on a run in the second half of the season TOGETHER.
As always, we appreciate your support.