So, imagine you're on your way to work after a good night's sleep.
You've taken your morning shower, put on your good work clothes and a nice pair of shoes.
You walk down your front steps, and squish -- you step in a fresh pile of dog poop on your front lawn.
And just like that, your good morning is ruined.
That was pretty much Saturday night in a nutshell for Real Salt Lake.
"Tonight I felt my team wasn't ready to start. In 15 minutes we were in an absolute lull and if you give two goals away to a team that's as organized defensively as they are you are going to be in for a difficult night," RSL boss Jason Kreis said after Saturday's match, a 2-0 loss to the Los Angeles Galaxy at Rio Tinto Stadium.
"They made it difficult on us. I do appreciate our guy's reactions; I do appreciate what they put into the second half, we are unfortunate not to score a goal, but we need to own up and be responsible for what happened in the first 15 minutes."
To their credit, both Kreis and his team didn't back down from acknowledging their mistakes, but taking responsibility doesn't make the lackadaisical early effort against one of the league's marquee teams any less disturbing.
The fact that Galaxy were missing their star tandem of Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane, along with a few others that would traditionally comprise their starting XI makes Saturday's lack of early enthusiasm even more inexcusable.
"There were five players that started tonight with the Galaxy that aren't typically in their strongest eleven. When I got their lineup I was nervous to even write it up on the board. I was wondering if there was any way I could just sneak it in that they were playing LA's strongest lineup," Kreis said. "I feel that our guys have had a tendency over the past to let down when they are playing a team that they think is weaker than they are; and tonight they got shown that team isn't weaker than we are. Their eleven was better than our eleven."
At the professional level of every sport, the difference between winning and losing is often razor thin. The level of talent, even on teams that struggle to win consistently, isn't all that different from those that win championships.
"I'm searching for an answer myself, but when we have as many veteran players out there as we did tonight Borchers, Beckerman, Morales, Grabavoy, Rimando, Schuler now, and Beltran these guys have been around the league long enough that you wouldn't think they would play inconsistently. I'm not making judgments of any individual player, but I think collectively that we have to really build ourselves more up for these games and recognize that in every single match that if we don't put in everything that we have we will get beat. We will get beat even by teams that are missing five starters."
And hopefully for Salt Lake the lesson sunk in so that it can scape the crud off its shoe and move forward again.
You can follow Justin Johnson on Twitter at: @jjohnson801 or email him at email@example.com.