It may not be at the very top of the list of athlete interview clichés, but it’s probably on the first page. It’s easy to imagine it being entered into Nuke LaLoosh’s little notepad.
“We/they just wanted it more.”
It’s flexible. It can be used after almost any competition and any kind of result. It conveniently ignores what actually happened on the field (or court or ice or whatever), and blithely glosses over individual performances and decisions made by athletes or coaches. It’s inherently meaningless. And so it’s been an interview staple for years.
But the world has changed. Now, during this surreal period of life and sports turned upside down, “We/they just wanted it more” is set to become astute, relevant analysis. You can thank the MLS is Back Tournament, the experimental, mostly-successful, month-long event in Central Florida that’s set to enter the knockout stage. Sixteen teams remain, and they’ll play in a single-elimination bracket culminating in the Aug. 11 final.
Analyzing and predicting MLS is always a fool’s errand, and over the past two weeks—thanks to the tropical conditions, the pandemic layoff, a few injuries or absences and other variables, there have been some surprising results.