This weeks 'On Fire' is all about trying to deal with third degree burns. Referee Yader Reyes from last nights Real Salt Lake v. New England Revolution match walked on to the pitch a nobody, and left as man with a million questions to answer.
The call by the ref here was appalling, but it was only the beginning. (At least he was consistent?) Going through this game and counting the bad calls would be a waste of time. Lets just say is is a number with more digits than pie has decimal places. For this, Yader Reyes is our first man to get burned.
How to slip in the fireworks metaphor here? Just about every RSL v. Revs article has gone with the standard "fireworks were on the field" comment. We heard it from players after the match, TV commentators, and in all the write ups. So I will try to continue a similar tradition here. Skip the next paragraph if you wish to avoid the worlds most thinly veiled extended metaphor.
The match between Real and New England was like a 4th of July party. One organized by your blind uncle thats missing a few fingers. And despite all of the other able bodied talent available, your uncle is the one playing with the fireworks. In the process he starts all sorts of fires and burns himself horribly. This is disappointing. The only positive thing to come out of the event is that, due to Uncle Reyes's blatant and egregious errors, others are able to show their true grit by stepping forward and battling to save the party. In the end, after burning the party goers from Salt Lake much worse than the ones from New England, the party goers from Salt Lake feel lucky to escape with all of their limbs. The party goers from New England, being maimed, but not mortally wounded, are still very upset with Uncle Reyes's performance. Uncle Reyes somehow survives the evening, but later dies from the wounds.
Real Salt Lake is heating up, because of the incredibly short hand they have been dealt and their ability to fight through it to keep gaining points. We saw it with Charlie Divies, we saw it with the ref last night, and we've seen it with the unfortunate injuries of Javier Morales and budding star Paulo Jr., just to name a few. And though they are only a shadow of the juggernaut they were made out to be at the start of the year, it looks as if they are going to peak at exactly the right time. When the decisions / luck starts falling RSL's way, they will be a force.
Jason Kreis, for his ability to stay so damn cool, is on fire. It is simply incredible that he was able to hold his tongue after the match and focus on his players' performances. But after seeing that the machine gun fire of bad calls was hitting both sides, he even approached the other coach to try and stage a walk out. Bold move Kreis, and if it weren't for the incredible comeback of RSL, it would have been the most fitting end to this match. And lets not forget who scored RSL's goal to tie it up- super sub Fabian Espindola with a beautiful outside left. Watch Kreis explain his tactical substitutions in his post game conference to see how brilliant of a sub this really was.
Well that's more than enough fireworks for this week. Stay tuned for Russell's comments on the game later this week, and check back next week to see who's on fire, heating up, and who's getting burned.
ps Honorable mention for Will Johnson, as he is still Will Johnson.