Those were the sentiments of MetroStars coach Bob Bradley after his club's 1-0 loss to the Dallas Burn over the weekend.
Bradley had two important pieces missing due to Wednesday's CONCACAF qualifiers for the 2006 FIFA World Cup -- a vital one in U.S. international central defender Eddie Pope, but perhaps an even more integral piece in Honduras international playmaker Amado Guevara.
"Think of it this way," Bradley said after the match, "every day in training there (are) two teams and Amado is only on one of them. It doesn't mean the other team in training loses every day. That team has to know how to deal with situations, how to make plays at those moments that are smart and fit the situation."
Be that as it may, the absence of Guevara was apparent. Although the MetroStars earned the better of the chances before the Burn hit the match-winner in the 91st minute, the Metros too often failed to develop the play in the midfield as the Burn swarmed.
"In a lot of cases we got caught taking too many touches or running with balls instead of playing faster and simpler through the midfield," Bradley said. "We also had a number of plays right around the box where the timing of the last pass never really came off."
The two most glaring examples of execution in the box were in the 52nd and 63rd minutes respectively. First, no MetroStars made a strong run to compliment John Wolyniec, who had gained possession and space down the left side. He wound up lifting a shot hopelessly wide and into the seats.
Later, Tenywa Bonseu's cross was just a bit behind Sergio Galvan Rey, who managed to put his head on the ball, but only enough to alter its course and send it harmlessly through the area.
The players echoed Bradley's sentiment that while Guevara and Pope are important parts of the club, a result was there for the taking even without them.
"It's always difficult when you lose top players," Wolyniec said, "but we've stepped up before and we really should've stepped up tonight. It's a game we should've won, but they don't always go your way."
Dan Lauletta is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.