Bird’s Blog: A night to forget in Vancouver

Needless to say, this wasn’t how we envisioned the start of our season.

We have no excuses. There is no explanation. We just got outplayed, and we paid for it.

The key now is to move on and get ready for the home opener next weekend. In a way, we needed to lose on Friday because it showed us that just because you’re the defending national champion, it doesn’t mean your you-know-what doesn’t stink.

We’ll take the positives from that game — we played much better in the second half  than the first — and move on.

Of course, it’s good to think about what happened for a couple days, but it’s not healthy to dwell on it. By the time training rolls around tomorrow morning, the game in Vancouver will be a distant memory.

It’s time to flush this one.

In a long season, teams can’t get caught up thinking about the mistakes — the games in which they played poorly, the games they should have won, the goals they should have scored or shouldn’t have let in — because it distracts from the task at hand.

The good thing about soccer is that you almost always get a second chance, and you almost always get on the field soon after the last time you were on it. We train several times a week, and we sometimes play three games in a week’s time.

Part of what separates average players from professional players from world-class players is the mental aspect of the game. The only play, the only session, the only game that matters is the one right in front of you; the last one and the next one don’t mean anything.

That’s one of my weaknesses as a player that I’ve been working to fix. Sometimes, I over-think things. I “get in my own head,” as the saying goes.

It’s one of the strangest skills to train. The way players get better at all other aspects of the game is by doing something — taking 1,000 repetitions, watching game film, talking to coaches — but not this one.

It’s against every instinct I have as a player to not do anything, but that’s the key here.

Don’t think. Just act.

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