A few days ago, we took out the whuppin’ stick and beat on MLS for not “growing up” and getting on board with the way so many competitions finish their seasons or tournament group play, with simultaneous kickoffs.
It’s the best way to increase chances that one team does not benefit from an unfair advantage of additional rest. Teams that kick off later might land fortuitously into a situation where they can roll out the reserves, therefore gaining more rest for starters by virtue of greater knowledge.
Houston did just that Saturday. With his regulars available, but hearing a result out of Chicago a couple of hours earlier that made the Dynamo result irrelevant in playoff positioning, coach Dominic Kinnear did the wise thing and deployed a bunch of reservists.
So his first team enjoyed the weekend off – and a few additional days of rest over the Fire starters.
Did it affect the match? Fire manager Frank Klopas doesn’t seem to think so. Good on him for not making this an excuse in a home loss. On the other hand, wouldn’t it be better if we weren’t asking this question?
What Klopas said when asked about it following last night’s match:
I don’t know. Sometimes it’s good when you’re in a rhythm when playing. The only guy I was a little bit concerned with was Pavel [Pardo] because he had missed six weeks and he had played a full ninety. I think he felt a little heavy legged and we so we made the sub. And Patrick [Nyarko], because he’s been playing all these games with some issues, hats off to the guy. We were looking at taking him out but when you’re down two zero we needed to push the game and keep all of our attacking guys on the field. I feel it’s better to get into a rhythm with playing. We played Saturday and Wednesday so for me that’s not an excuse. I feel like it’s better to be playing. We were still at home. The trainings were light. I felt we had the energy. I think maybe there were a few 50/50 balls where we could have done a little better.”