Sacramento Republic walked away from last Saturday's with no points, no goals, and no momentum after a deflating 1-0 loss to Saint Louis FC.
Here are some things that went wrong in this weekend's loss.
1. The finishing was not where it needs to be
Stop me it you've heard this before, but this week Sacramento Republic FC outshot their opponent by a wide margin (18 to 6) but was unable to score a goal. They even had double the shots on goal that Saint Louis had (4 to 2) but were unable to make any of them count.
Getting off a lot of shots is generally a good thing. Unless a team is just being straight up wasteful, more shots usually means that you are on the front foot and are controlling the match. However, quantity does not equal quality and many Republic shots were not particularly threatening.
Of course, this does not mean that every shot from the home team was a purely speculative effort or was way off target. Most shots were at least fairly close. In fact, Max Alvarez, Alfonso Motagalvan, and Danny Barrera had three of the more dangerous chances of the match and each of them missed the frame - albeit by mere inches.
Buckle has pointed out quite a few times so far this season that the team is still creating chances even if they aren't putting them away, and he's right about that. But at some point someone has to start finishing. USL might have some non-traditional rules (looking at you, 5 subs in a game), but they do not award points for chances created. They award them for goals scored.
2. A record number of corner kicks went unconverted
The Republic's inability to convert corner kicks is well known at this point in its history. The team did not score directly from a corner in the entire 2015 season and have continued that particular streak so far this season. At this point I have to wonder if teams are less hesitant to give away corner kick opportunities to the Quails since that is a known weakness to anyone who has done even rudimentary scouting.
Saturday's match set a new record for corner kicks taken (and not converted) by Sacramento with 11. The previous record was 10, a number that the team has reached three times, most recently in this season's home opener against Arizona.
Judging by his post-match comments, corner kicks seem to be an area of concern for Buckle. He seems to have noticed that Sacramento get a lot of corners and has resolved to work towards taking advantage of them. Let's hope he is successful because two seasons without scoring from corner kicks is too long.
3. Counter attacks after corners were an issue
Although corner are opportunities to score, they also leave the attacking team open to corner kicks by drawing more players than usual up into the opposition penalty area. Counter attacks are nothing new to Republic fans, who have been seeing the defend and counter strategy from away teams since 2014. However, counters from corners are a bit new and have become more of an issue with the Republic starting to utilize the more traditional direct corner kick rather than the short corner that we've seen in the past.
Saint Louis FC used the vulnerability after corner kicks to great effect on Saturday, forcing an own goal on a post-corner counter attack. Although the scoring play was unique among all of Saint Louis's counter attempts in that it was highlighted by two Republic errors (Foran's missed tackle at midfield and Kiffe's redirection), it was part of a theme that developed throughout the game.
4. Rough first touch killed some attacking moves
Hard first touches are hardly the most significant problem that the Republic had on Saturday, but they were an issue. There were a few times that a forward was put in a good position by a through ball but ruined the chance with a heavy first touch. Cameron Iwasa, Mackenzie Pridham, and Harry Williams each fell victim to a heavy first touch at least once on Saturday, killing a potentially promising attack in the process.
What do you think went wrong in Saturday's loss to Saint Louis? Sound off in the comments below.