Real Salt Lake played to a dramatic draw over the weekend in San Jose. Let’s all just be honest and say that it sucks to wake up Monday morning and realize that we left 2 points in California. I think there’s a lot of really good things to take away from this weekend and some things that are just flat out terrifying.
Real Salt Lake new comer Luke Mulholland was a bright spot in the match for me. I said this after the pre season, dude is for real. For the second match in a row he made a great second run into the box and was rewarded with a goal (that stood this time). The game seemed to have a controlled pace up until the point that he left the match. You could tell he was a bit gassed and needed a sub, but the game changed dramatically after he subbed out. Now, let’s not go all Johnny ‘MF’ Steele on this guy and get out of hand, but two matches in a row Luke has been quite good. He keeps putting it together and this could be big.
A great part of that could also be that around the same time Aaron Maund went down with an injury and had to be subbed out. Had you told me at the beginning of the season that Maund would be a critical part of our success at any point before the LA game I would have laughed at you. I was betting heavily on Salcedo and again in this match was proven wrong. Maund did a fantastic job throughout the match and I can only hope that his injury is not terribly serious. (More info today after training)
The RSL attack seems to be finding itself a little bit. Sabo is creating a ton of chances and shooting the ball from outside. Though he is yet to score you can tell he’s getting after it and just being dangerous will allow for space for other players to get into scoring position. Plata is two for two. That is saying something. If he can score at even a semblance of this rate this season we’ll be okay. Kyle has another ‘Beckerbomb’ and the world is right again. There’s just something about that guy shooting from outside the box that gives me all the feels. More than just scoring, we were dangerous until about the 67th minute. Could that be fitness? Maybe. Felt more like personnel, but I also blame San Jose.
The injuries are something I am pretty worried about. Jordan Allen and Aaron Maund both picked up knocks and will likely be added to the long list of players unavailable or questionable for this weekend against LA. Feels like we’re up against another “well, let’s try and find 18 fit players for this weekend’ situation.
Something else that was concerning was the bunker mentality that seems to persist in the team post Jason Kries. For some reason RSL have always had a difficult time killing off an opponent. Getting that final goal or just straight out possessing a team is a difficult thing, but particularly for RSL at times. Changing tactics as early in the match as we did, you could feel the goals coming. Cassar and co need to figure out a strategy for winning this type of game and get really good at it, quickly. We are not a team that is built for bunker/counter play for extended periods of time.
With LA coming up this week there’s more questions than answers, I feel. Let’s see what the boys can do with it.