BY JASON CORLISS
Here I am, once again, in “The City That Can Put One Thigh On Your Shoulder And Balance Itself While Doing That Leaning Back Shimmy Thing Without Falling Down,” getting ready for RBNY to take on the Impact. The last time we were here, the boys got a great result, although I didn’t fare as well. Hopefully, we’ll both return home healthy and three points heavier.
In my most recent column, we discussed the nature of life’s patterns and, particularly, how accepting one’s place within the grander cosmic scheme of RBNY fandom might help keep one on the sane(ish) side of the street (most of the time). And, during a week in which the team needed to pick up seven out of a possible nine points despite witheringly hot conditions and (surprise) makeshift lineups, amid escalating hand wringing over the lack of any semblance of DP3, I was able to keep a cool head and live up to the declaration I made a few weeks ago, resting comfortably in the knowledge that Soler and Backe had things completely covered.
Well, maybe not covered as in “covered,” but with Backe’s fondness for American culture, and Soler’s bigtime-y swag, it’s not a huge leap to imagine the two of them rolling out in Soler’s Benz on a Saturday night, bouncing to some old school West Coast flow. These guys clearly have an idea of the type of team they want to build – a team that should and needs to win now — and have gone about doing so in clinical and contrarian fashion – to great results. They obviously enjoy playing the game, and have been one step ahead of the critics all year.
The most recent piece of the puzzle, former Everton star and Aussie international Tim Cahill, is just another variable in the complex, ever-evolving equation. It’s all about the formula.
High energy flowin’ with the wisdom
Sense of a rich man, knowledge and the rhythm
This is what I’m using to come up with a style
So I’ll interact altogether better with the crowd
Nervous for a second then the record starts spinnin’
And I fall into the state of mind of what I’d just created
Pump it like the Dr. D into the R.E. suckers ready to leap
Up on the tip when we made it
Creative so I’ll never be regarded as a regular
More than just a little bit better than my competitor
It’s the formula
The thing about formulas, though, is that they’re reliant upon the individual variables being correct for the end result to come out right. So far so good. In fact, it’s made my writing life that much more difficult, given the almost complete lack of angst-induced fugues that have been visited upon me. But, I’ll take a winning team and my general mental health over column fodder…..this week at least. The one critical element, the one magic number, of this season’s formula is “three”. Three points piled upon three points, etc. is all that matters.
One can parse the lineup choices and gripe about the lack of this or that, but as the prophet once said, “You are what your record says you are.” As long as this team and its staff find ways to bring home three points consistently, then there is no argument about how the variables have interacted. The elegant thing about math and magic numbers is that there is not much room for nuance. The formula is either right or wrong.
Dig the pattern once more
The addition of Tim Cahill has left some observers confounded. Why hasn’t Soler (finally) gotten the creative, playmaking midfielder that this organization has been missing for years?! Well, because their particular formula doesn’t really call for one in order to be successful. Sure, it’d be nice to have Kaka in the side, but unless someone has quietly slipped Rafa Marquez into a laundry bin destined for one of New Jersey’s many legitimate linen services with a stack of hundreds pinned to his chest (which, as of this writing, hasn’t happened, as far as I’m aware), then the composition of this team and it’s disparate pieces is pretty much locked up.
Without getting too deep into the Xs & Os of where Cahill will fit in – as it’s been well covered on this site – I think it’s a good signing and great bit of business. RBNY rarely keeps the same shape behind the ball as they do when they have the ball, so I don’t really think that “formations” play too much into the equation. However, like all formulas, the question is whether the variables will be merely disparate parts of supposed plan, or a cohesive mix that not only equals the intended result, but exceeds the sum of its parts and becomes something special, something…fun.
As often happens in music, “supergroups” are slapped together and it’s assumed that the usic they make will in fact transcend their individual contributions. More than not, though, this turns out not to be the case. However, one of my favorite examples of this actually working is the soundtrack to the movie Backbeat, which traces the story of the Beatles’ early years in Hamburg, focusing on the relationship between John Lennon and Stu Sutcliffe. All of the music featured in the film and the “live” performances were played by a murderers row of early/mid 90s rock icons – Dave Pirner (Soul Asylum) and Greg Dulli (The Afghan Whigs) on vocals, Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth) and Don Fleming (Gumball) on guitar, Mike Mills (R.E.M.) on bass, and Dave Grohl (Nirvana/Foo Fighters) on drum. And, they shred the ever-loving sh*t out of the proto-rock n roll tunes that the Beatles covered in the clubs of the Reeperbahn. The result is the sound of fun unleashed…exponentially more visceral than the original, and well worth the effort. If only the pieces that Soler and Backe have put into place can gel in the same way, and play with the same fervor and emotion as the Backbeat band, this season will end as we all hope (against hope) that it will.
We’re gonna have some fun tonight,
We’re gonna have some fun tonight,
Everything’s all right,
Gonna have some fun, have some fun tonight!
But, what if it doesn’t, you ask. What if it all ends up in a disastrous, stagnant pile of recriminations and “that’s so Metro”s? What if the delicate balance of team chemistry gets tipped further by each new addition, and eventually it all just results in a loud and well rehearsed sigh of crumpled expectations? That’s actually the ironic beauty of supporting this heretofore cursed franchise. We’ve been there before. A lot. This is why I’ve resolved to keep things in perspective, and adopt a countenance of calm amid the rapidly onrushing variables of Soler’s formula. Sure, I’d like to grab them by the arm and force them to tell me how it all turns out, but where’s the fun in that? I’d much rather just enjoy the ride.
You could let it down
Jump into the river baby
Easy as it sounds
It’s never quite as easily done
The current has us now, it’s ok
Take into account that it’s all about to change
Who knows, who cares
No one’s been there
But I don’t care
I know all have been there
I don’t care
RBNY has been nearly invincible at home this year. And, as I’ve discussed here before, the South Ward has played a major part. With seven of the final eleven games at RBA, we are, indeed, part of the formula, although our contribution is of our own determination. Through three games in a week, with 85-100 degree temperatures, we did all we could to make a difference in the outcomes, and to whatever extent our participation is absorbed and utilized by the players, we have much to be proud of.
Whether our support had anything to do with it, Henry’s otherworldly exclamation point at midweek is as legendary a goal as I can remember anyone on this team ever scoring. Yes, there were classics from Gio, and Woly, and Jozy and Clint and JPA and others, but similar to JPA’s free kick against Houston, Henry’s felt as though it was destined to change an entire season’s fortunes. After the draw with Chicago and the listless run of late, it felt as though things were on the brink. And, they were. Because, they always are.
Knowing that the formula is tenuous, and that the variables are always changing and interchanging gives me a counter-intuitive sense of tranquility. I don’t know about you, but I’m going to try to enjoy the hell out of this run before/even if/when it tumbles off the cliff most of us are pretending doesn’t exist (or, not).
And oh you can’t stop what’s comin’ up
You’re never gonna stop gonna live it up
And oh it’s gonna drop gonna fill your cup
And oh it’s gonna drop gonna fill your cup
The age of miracles
The age of sound
Well there’s a Golden Age
Comin’ round, comin’ round, comin’ round
Now we’re all allowed to breathe
With the hunger and the greed
Move your body
You’ve got all you need
And your arms in the air stir a sea of stars
And oh here it comes and it’s not so far…