In lieu of a recap I thought I’d dust off the old Weekday Hangover and ramble for a few.
I actually don’t really know where to go with this. The only reason my finger is only hovering over the panic button instead of furiously pressing it is I didn’t expect the Hounds to win last weekend anyways. On the road, at a place they Hounds haven’t had success at before, against a team on a definitive upward swing… it wasn’t a recipe for success. Perhaps my pre-game acceptance of a loss says it all.
I’m starting to think this is just who the Hounds are. They started off strong and exciting, but have since fallen back to earth. Our brief foray into 4th place was just a fluke of scheduling. The rest of the league has caught up and we’re back in the bottom third; a little better than last year. Maybe it wouldn’t be such whiplash if we fell a little more gradual instead of going winless in the last 5 games. At the beginning of the season I said I would be ok with small improvements, and I guess part of me still is. It’s just that after getting that taste of being at the top, falling back down tastes rather bitter.
I do have to give the Hounds some credit- at this point they do have a better record than last year. Even the losses are better in a weird way. Last season the Hounds lost matches by 2 or more goals eight times. A little over every 1 in 4 games. Here in 2017, nearly half way through the season, we just had the first one. I’m a firm believer teams, no matter who they are, have a game like this at least once a season. Having it happen less frequent is a step in the right direction for the Hounds.
The bit of light I cling to in this depressing stretch is we’re still not even half way through the season. Coincidentally, or maybe appropriately, the July 4th game is the exact halfway point. Until then though the Hounds have 18 more games to go. Plenty of time to turn things around. Other than the top two positions, the Eastern conference is crazy tight this season. Even with this bad run of form we’re only 4 points out of 4th. 4th is a big spot to be in. 4th guarantee’s a home playoff game- something the Hounds haven’t had in over five years. It’s still attainable. The team just needs to be hungry for it.
Make no mistake; the season is teetering on the edge. At this point it really could go either way. It’s a big moment in Brandt’s short professional coaching career. Is he not the one on a shirt in the team store saying talk is cheap? Well here we go, it’s time to prove it. He may not have been able to turn it around last year, but hopefully that experience will help this time around. He’ll either learn from his mistakes, or he’ll see that shirt come back to haunt him. All that said, what better way to make a statement than with a result this Thursday against the Rowdies? Tampa may be 3rd in the standings, but they’re surprisingly mediocre on the road: 1-2-4 (W-L-D) this year with just 8 goals. They’re also losing a big part of their defense to international duty. Now it’s not like the Hounds are lighting things up at home this season, but it would be nice to be on the other end of a trap game for once.
The Hounds have two home games in a row. Get a result on Thursday, get a win on the 4th, and get this train back on track.