Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Guest Post: Random Musings on RCU Home Opener By Chris Shaffer

Friend of the PWT-blog Chris Shaffer casts his critical eye on the RCU loss to the Knoxville Force on Saturday night.  Enjoy!

RCU aficionado Chris Shaffer

RCU now stands at one win and one loss, both vs. the expansion Knoxville club (Storm, Force, help me out here (It's the Force, Chris.  Knoxville Force, forgettable name.  I agree.), and the real meat of the season yet to come. That the loss to Knoxville came in Huntsville raises some questions.

We must bear in mind that the team is literally still coming together, with veterans of the 2009 championship season Joseph Omondi and Fredy “The Kenyan Quasar” Okello arriving in town this week.

I don’t know what to expect in terms of other players joining the squad in the next week or two, but a few things seemed obvious as I sat next to speedy winger Sutton Shults during the second half.  Sutton goes under the knife Tuesday and may return in a month:

• RCU lacks speed on the wings. Please don’t tell me this also because Paul Willoughby is injured, as I highly doubt PW would play for RCU this season were he healthy. Remember last year’s press release “Willoughby Signs on for2010 Season.” Sure.

• RCU lacks a bonafide central distributing midfielder. Last season, the whole game plan centered on the gifted Lexi Munro, a real #10 in the sense of a Riquelme or Zidane. This year there’s a gaping hole there.

On the positive side

• Jason Sabio’s return to central defense, and Joseph Omondi’s ability to play there or at holding midfield should be a vast improvement over last year’s back line.

• Gifted left-sided player and this year’s captain Jacob Letsholo has returned. Unfortunately, if he plays on the left wing in mf, we lack speed and at left back.
RCU Ironman Brian Hadley
• Brian Hadley is back and, now starting at forward, has actually played every position except ‘keeper for RCU. Why he’s not playing right back, central defender or even holding mf, I don’t know.

• There was only one 1st half substitution not due to injury.

• The return of Andrew Nkurunungi, which I probably spelled incorrectly, is a plus.  He just knows how to score, period. If that doesn’t work, he knows a few quality swimming pool maneuvers too.

• Brian Kimbugwe is a solid player in mf.

Tell Me Why??????
Why does RCU expend time and resources signing out of town goalkeepers when we have two outstanding, experienced ‘keepers here already in Tyler Earley and Jeffrey Preston. These guys are veterans of US Open Cups and NPSL Final Fours.  We don’t need a carpetbagger for this. Shades of last year. On Saturday, the winning goal for Knoxville was scored when the RCU ‘keeper came off his line, failed to get a touch on the ball, and was beaten by a headed chip. This shouldn’t happen. OK, I said it.

Why does RCU not have a home field advantage? Aside from silent, lethargic fans, because, instead of painting lines on the field that would allow both benches and the 4th official on the same side as the fans, they either don’t think about it or just take what’s given them. There’s plenty of space on either sideline to do this AND the pitch, unlike last year, is in decent condition. Chattanooga gets a lot of mileage out of having the visitor’s bench directly beneath the fans. Plus, why should the visiting team get the short walk to the locker room while our boys trudge across the field at halftime to get to theirs? Furthermore, it would make the press box volunteers jobs a whole lot easier.

Finally, last year’s “experiment” with Desmond Armstrong set the club back. It caused dissension in the ranks and destroyed good players’ confidence. RCU is on the right track and they deserve your support now more than ever. The bus trip to Knoxville was just the sort of idea to inspire a real, rabid following. Kudos to whomever came up with that.  Now we need some songs, and someone other that Chattanooga fans tailgating in our parking lot.


  1. From a minority owners perspective - Good to have Chris Commenting on the RCU and the teams strengths and weaknesses. Remember however, that his favorite coach is Harry Rednap of the Tottenham Spurs, who favors a used car saleman and has faltered significantly as the year progressed in 2011. Having said that, all teams are adjusting line ups right now, so I do not see this as a viable excuse. Songs and tailgating go hand in hand, I don't think RCU will get one without the other. Did the new mascot add any excitement to the atmosphere? I was unable to attend Saturday night's game, but look forward to my first RCU outing. Bryan

  2. sorry, bryan. the consensus is that the mascot didn't add much to the atmosphere at all.