By Richard Nightingale
Tactically and Technically not good enough.
Conceded in the first minute, three down inside thirty and by the end of ninety Montreal, the team at the bottom of the Eastern Conference, had their first home win of the season.
Going into the game Pittsburgh had numerous injuries, took three players “on loan” from MLS affiliate Columbus Crew and most significantly Kevin Kerr couldn’t travel outside the US while pursuing his green card. Long bus ride from Pittsburgh compounded to this difficult midweek fixture.
It was like watching paint dry. Eight substitutes used. One of the loan players from Columbus Crew was sent off for a reckless challenge. I was watching the game on a plane to Portland and could feel the frustration and angst from the Pittsburgh players at 30,000 feet. Body language was horrendous, a sure sign of the “uncommitted”. Wonder what the three Columbus players will have to say about their Riverhounds experience when asked by staff at Crew? “Don’t send me back, I beg you”.
Montreal used the game to let certain players get some miles in their legs, the win was a bonus and is secondary every time this club takes the field in the USL. Wednesday night outing for the reserves and chance for family to see loved one’s play. The commentary team was having a jolly old time, waxing lyrical. Despite that, they were very astute in pointing out the deficiencies of Pittsburgh and certain players, and I take no issue with their comments.
This was the USL at it’s very worst.
If the US Open defeat at home was a low point resulting in Mark Steffens being fired, then at this point in time how does the “new era” stack up? Most troubling, Pittsburgh did not look prepared. The players were in a fog. Vargas notably, but there were many more. Did Brandt have a game plan, tactics that were communicated to the team and worked on in practice? If we asked the players would they say they were ready, confident and knew what had to be done to win the game or even grind out a draw? It was always going to be an uphill challenge, but the coach and players had no clue tactically and technically. They lost the game 4 – 1. Rolled over, supporting cast in a pantomime.
From game to game, Brandt more and more looks like a fish out of water. Significantly, Pittsburgh does not know how to play as a unit with there being far too much space between defense, midfield and forwards for the opposition to play in. Loose their shape too easily, can’t manage adversity during a game and make poor decisions when they have the ball. Devoid of creativity in the last third. A constant experiment? Players come and go every season and as I have said before, in the USL you deal in the “here and now” results. It’s NOT “the beautiful game”.
Hertzog can score every game; they are consolation goals and meaningless. Having said that, Hertzog would be welcome on any squad I put together. One has to admire his unwavering commitment and work ethic in these dark days. Tip of the hat to Mr. Hertzog.
Pittsburgh is a team languishing in the abyss and players look stale. Certain of them need to find another profession, as “you can’t put in what God left out”.
I fear as the saying goes “the Coach has lost the locker room”, but then again, did Brandt ever have it?