More after the jump…
Look, the images are compelling and it’s fun to joke but we didn’t lose because of any officiating in either tie. True, there were some infuriating and baffling calls that went RM’s way, especially yesterday (the usually neutral ESPN Deportes commentators were pretty shocked at various calls all night). And even though it looked a lot like we put the ball in the net twice over this tie, we lost because we didn’t offer enough going forward. We had some great possession in dangerous areas in the first half, and especially Negredo and Rakitic seemed much too timid to just SHOOT ALREADY.
But it’s not all gloom and doom–as Aaron said yesterday, we made the semis again and certainly defended our title well and with pride. Rakitic looked very strong and like he’ll be an impressive force for us the rest of the season and beyond. There’s some concern about our strategic acumen as far as breaking down a back six or seven, as Mou basically employed yesterday by having his holding mids (and often one more mid) sit deep with the back four, but overall we looked very strong yesterday, and I’m proud of the team. We may need to play against CR more often, though, as he was easily the game’s most consistent force at stopping RM attacks with wasteful losses of possession. He should have an added stat column for “offensive clearances” , as it’s sort of a stretch to call a lot of what he does from 20-40 yards, “shots”.