In case you’re watching at minute 86 on your replay and just skipped the end to commiserate in the comments, I have a SPOILER ALERT of a header for you. We are not commiserating; rather, we are celebrating like a kid who saddled someone else with his detention slip! Despite a poor first 30′ and a relentless (but goalless) second half, Sevilla looked to go down 0-1 at home to Las Palmas..but then we swiped all 3 points at the death of deaths with a Sarabia penalty and Carlos Fernández entire body goal on the last play of the match. Whaaaaa????
And then, dear readers, I asked if my texting counterpart, Jeremy, was going to witness our soon to be 2-1 comeback or if he was suffering from his poor wifi plague. So, basically, I should be consulted with your life plans as long as they involve Sevilla and trailing Las Palmas late at home.
But ok. That was the end! How did we get there? Well, the first 30 were full of Sad Sevilla: little movement, too much aimless possession, and no shots..period. There were the same gaps we’ve come to know and loathe through midfield and attack. We pursued the ball but not always effectively, which was laid bare on a few occasions when Las Palmas found the space to run that we so desperately craved.
They cut us up like Swiss cheese there. I have checked and we are not Swiss cheese! The real beast of the day was Roque Mesa, who pulled the rug out on every single one of our outfield players at some point, but especially costly was this particular rug-pull to ghost past Mariano in the buildup to Las Palmas’s goal.
Ugh, Mariano! Posterized! Or whatever the soccer equivalent is. GIFercized? Roquesterized? Submit your thoughts on this crucial matter in the comments!
Sampaoli told the truth after the fact: he misjudged this match. Las Palmas blocked our passing lanes and gave us possession in which either N’Zonzi or our CBs were dared to make forward moves to generate play, and well, they are not our strong playmakers. Several long balls to nowhere or stagnant cud-chewing were the outcomes throughout the first half.
As the match wore on and the intensity rose, creatives such as Vitolo and Sarabia were perfect to fuel the hunger for the goals the crowd implored. Vitolo worked the touchline to perfection to send in a tap of death that was pushed in only to have it ruled that the ball had left the field of play (it had not, or at least had not very clearly done so). That play in the 73rd minute sparked a furious rally of spirit over the final 20 that ended in what we considered at least a worthy point until we were set spinning with glee when Carlos Fernández Fernández’d the ball over a sprawling Varas and the line on our 10th and final corner kick. Everyone was like
The main takeaway is we played pretty damn good ball in the second half. Because we got the win, Sampaoli can lean a little more on fixing the first half slump as we prepare for a Juventus team that could devour our very souls if we do not stiffen up.
We might be too dependent on our key playmakers like Vitolo at this stage, but so is every team. And everyone, let’s just take a minute to dwell on Vitolo. His quality over these first three games (and with the nats) is a sign that no matter the system he can contribute, indeed his adaptation has been prominent yet also quite subtle in that I don’t believe I see a different player or style of play from him as much as I’ve seen that his reading of the game has accelerated and given him time and space to make great decisions with the ball. He’s a boss and a hoss.
Jeremy’s post-match tweets were good for thoughts on Las Palmas getting “jobbed” by this one. I feel for them and want them to do well, but damn that second half needed to be reflected on the scoreboard.