Under Jesse Marsch, the New York Red Bulls tend to fall back on the same line of thinking when results call the team's ability or character into question: lather, rinse, repeat - is the standard answer in a nutshell. Or as Marsch will often say, "trust the system". A loss or disappointment will almost always bring the response that the squad must simply double-down on its preferred methods and execute its plans more effectively.
As head coach, it is Marsch's unfortunate task to confront the media in sunshine or in rain, and while he is not afraid to speak out against officiating or perceived slights against his team, it is basically his job to be positive in discussion of RBNY's performances and outlook for the rest of the season.
So Jesse falls back on what has become a bit of a verbal tic when he needs to save whatever he is really thinking for the privacy of a closed training session: trust the system, go back and do what we do better than we have been doing it; lather, rinse, repeat.
In his post-game comments after RBNY's frustrating 2-2
loss tie with D.C. United at Red Bull Arena on September 11, Marsch perhaps betrayed his frustration by basically giving the same answer to different questions.
On whether the result felt like "a pretty crushing defeat":
I'm still very 'glass half full'. This is a good team. I know what I'm looking at. The frustration of giving some late leads away, we'll continue to reinforce certain things with the mentality, look tactically at what we do, personnel choices, the whole bit.
And on the injury that saw Ronald Zubar withdrawn from the match:
No update on Ronald yet. Seems like it's maybe a little bit of a groin. We're hopeful it's not too bad. We've had a few groin injuries this week, so we have to look at what we're doing, what we can do better.
Lather, rinse, repeat. We get it, Jesse: there is a system. Of course, a responsible head coach has to keep the ship steady. If he doesn't believe in the plan, how can the players be expected to follow him? So Jesse trots out his favorite phrases and gets out of another press conference unscathed.
Many of the senior players follow the example of their coach. Sacha Kljestan looked for positives with his comments:
I'm not too upset with the way things have been going with the team because I'm still very high on the team, a lot of confidence in the group and I think we're still in a very good way but just a disappointing result and it will go away in a day or so.
RBNY comms' Eric Giacometti found Luis Robles specifically to rebut fan angst on Twitter:
Your messages have been seen, #RBNY Twitter, so I asked Luis Robles his thoughts on what the concern level should be pic.twitter.com/OnnUMQt4u4— Eric Giacometti (@Eric_Giacometti) September 11, 2016
All good, all true, all balanced and reasonable. And all entirely unsatisfying for fans who just watched DC United steal the cheers out of their mouths with a two-goal fightback started in the 89th minute. Dax McCarty can often be relied on for a candid comment in these situations, but he didn't play against DCU on September 11.
Aurelien Collin is a feisty player, maybe he can scratch the itch for some unvarnished truths?
Amazing fans , we need to get better at finishing games!!! #godbless #GodBlessAmerica #911 #NeverForget— Aurelien COLLIN (@ampC2) September 11, 2016
Close but a little trite, Aurelien.
Felipe, how about you?
Feels terrible to tied the game like this,but on the day we all put a great https://t.co/j1CrNoNERO big week coming up.ALWAYS positive #RBNY— Felipe Martins (@FeliMartins8) September 11, 2016
Gah. No. Save the motivational speaking for team meetings.
Fans are fans: we'll be back for the next game. No need for the constant coddling urgings to "be positive". Who on the team will simply say what everyone is thinking and leave it at that?
Bradley Wright-Phillips is who.
That is how you respond to the game we just watched.
"Unacceptable", "rubbish", "embarrassing", "schoolboy errors": thank you, Bradley. It needed to be said. Put the PR manual down and just call it as you saw it. Call it as we all saw it: five minutes of awful in an otherwise well-executed game for RBNY.
The high point of the comments above comes at the 1:10 mark when BWP responds to Ben Olsen's comment that "you don't have to throw the sink too early at teams that play this way because you'll still get chances."
Wright-Phillips wasn't buying Olsen's bizarre effort to pass off his great escape as a great tactical maneuver:
"He said that? That's a ridiculous thing to say...his team got battered today...Is he saying that you plan to get battered and then you score? Great gameplan. To him: great gameplan."
And that is why BWP's comments are the only ones you should heed after RBNY's latest late-game humbling. Forget the cookie-cutter calls for positivity and the bland, PR-approved platitudes. Reach for the words that are honest, passionate, and surprisingly manage to spank Ben Olsen with his own celebration of his team's good fortune.
Not for the first time: thank you, BWP.