Yep, it’s only Sunday, but there are no matches today in which I have a rooting interest, so why not draw a line under the weekend a day early?
Let’s start with Friday night…
New England Revolution v. Sporting Kansas City
If I’m honest, all I was hoping for from this match was an away draw. Yes, SKC have struggled in their last few matches. Yes, the Revolution have been in form. Yes, the Revolution have had SKC’s “number” so far this season. However, Sporting are the defending champions and Sporting Park is one of the most difficult places for opposing teams to play in all of MLS. So, when Kelyn Rowe scored in the 22nd minute…
…and team captain Jose Goncalves scored in the 23rd minute…*
…I was feeling pretty confident. SKC were actually playing pretty well but the Revs were still bossing them in most areas of the field.
And then the second half happened.
Sporting got goals from Paulo Nagamura in the 54th minute and Dom Dwyer in the 56th minute, and were it not for the heroics of New England goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth Kansas City probably would have scored two or three…or four more times in the second half.
But they didn’t.
Instead, with only five minutes left in the match and me rationalizing with all of my considerable powers that, “Well, I guess if I was okay with an away point going in I can’t really be mad about it if the match ends in a draw…,” this happened.**
So that’s New England tied on points with Kansas City for second place in the Eastern Conference with four matches left to play.
I like it!
*What on Earth was Sporting and USMNT defender Matt Besler waiting for on this play? He just kept backpedaling until Goncalves took the shot!
**See previous note, swap “Goncalves” for “Jones.”
And then there was today…
Ross County F.C. v. Dundee F.C.
However this season eventually pans out for Ross County manager Jim McIntyre it will have to be said that he tried everything in his power to turn the club around. He experimented with new line-ups, new formations, new tactics, he changed captains, he brought in a new player, and he did it all while- by all accounts- imbuing the side with a sense of optimism and positivity that had apparently been sorely lacking under the leadership of Derek Adams.
Eventually, one hoped, all of the tinkering with the side coupled with an improvement of the squad’s mentality would come good. “When?” became the big question. Well, at least for a week, it looks like the answer to that question is, “now.”
Just form those highlights it’s pretty clear that getting Michael Gardyne back to Dingwall on loan from Dundee United was a master stroke and that getting him to stay past January should be a top priority for the club. It’s also pretty clear that one of last year’s revelations, Filip Kiss, is rounding back into form after a slow start to the year.
If Lewis Toshney (recently signed and put right into the starting line-up) plays up to his potential he could be a game changer, Jordan Irvine imposed his will on the match today, Ben Frempah (only 19!) has a huge future in front of him, captain Richard Brittain had his best match of the season, and, as much as I’ve advocated for Melvin de Leeuw and Liam Boyce to be in the starting eleven on a regular basis, if County can field a solid starting group without them and bring them off the bench along with today’s match winner Darren Maatsen, well, we might just have something here.
Bring on the mongrels!!