It's been a couple of days since our last blog. Dipping out of the Vegas Cup to a comprehensive defeat at the hands of an ugly team was deflating, and it was hard to put into perspective.
Del Sol was the team we had played in Arizona and absolutely battered. They weren't much of a footballing side, but were set up - as happens often in America - to win tournaments. Physical, quick, and direct. We couldn't get close enough to them in midfield to prevent balls behind our back four, and we were exposed for pace every time that happened. Really, they weren't up to much, but they knew how to win and we couldn't cope with it.
Earlier in the day we had given ourselves every chance with a comfortable 2-1 victory over local side Players SC (great name huh!). We played well and created a number of good chances, although they were always dangerous on the break. It gave us every chance going into the last game. We knew we could play better than Del Sol, and that made it all the more painful not to.
Still, we have to reflect positively on the tour. We have learned a lot, been to an incredible variety of places and played a wide range of teams. We now know what Kiwis face in the big wide world of soccer: We have to be at our absolute best to be competitive. The standard in the world is high.
Off the field we have had some great laughs, seen some cool things, and the players have had what is hopefully a life-changing trip. We have travelled almost 7,000 kilometers and every one of them has a story.
So now, back home. As we sit in the airport in Las Vegas scoffing Burger King (hey, it's the last day), it's hard not to be sad. We've been together so long, and this group of players and staff has really bonded. But for the players there is so much to take home, both in football and in life. And for the staff, it'll be nice to shift down a gear for a few weeks.
Fingers crossed for some good movies on the plane.
In the meantime, here's a happy Vegas memory: