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3 Thoughts on RSL and LA

RSL Huddle

It’s been 1 month and 1 day since RSL last scored a goal in a match, I’m excluding the gift from Victor Bernardez last Saturday night. That goal on April 5th in San Jose also coincides with the last time Real Salt Lake notched 3pts in a match. Tonight they’ll welcome in Western Conference Rival and old nemesis the LA Galaxy. LA comes to Utah with 13pts on the season and tied for 4th in the West. The last time these two clubs saw each other it was a 5-0 beatdown by the Galaxy in the Western Conference Semi-Finals at Stub Hub Center in November. LA will look relatively similar to last season save the loss of the greatest player in MLS History, Landon Donovan.

Wednesday night marks the 29th all time meeting between the two sides, with each side holding 11 wins and 6 draws. RSL holds a (5-3-5) record in Salt Lake City against LA. Each side is expected to be missing a key component to their attack tonight. RSL will be without midfield maestro Javier Morales, who continues to battle concussion symptoms from his collision with Shea Salinas last Friday night. Bruce Arena’s team will be without the best player in Major League Soccer, Robbie Keane who has missed 4 games with a groin injury.

From both a mental and standings standpoint, tonight is a huge match for Real Salt Lake with 3 of the next 4 matches on the road.

Three Things to Watch

1. Luis Gil-The narrative with Gil has always been that he feels most comfortable playing in the attacking #10 spot on the pitch. However that spot is most often occupied by Javier Morales, thus pushing Gil out wide. Well Morales will not play tonight and with the offense struggling right now for RSL, it’s a perfect time for Gil to showoff that attacking and creative skill set playing the #10 position. Gil wants that spot and Morales (at 35 years old) won’t play forever.  It’s time!

2. Will there be a formation switch? This season, the 4-3-3 has replaced the traditional 4-4-2 diamond that RSL had so much success with in recent years. Jeff Cassar has been on record as saying that things will take time to adapt to, but he’s also said that he’s not married to any one specific formation for this team. He simply wants what gives his team the best chance to succeed, with his club needing 3pts in the worst way right now, would he consider going back to the Diamond?

3. How will tonight’s match be officiated? There’s no need to rehash the debacle that was last Friday night. Tonight’s referee, Jose Carlos Rivero, has a bit more experience than Stoica did last week. Tonight will mark his 43rd match in MLS. He’s issued 12 red cards and pointed to the spot 20 times. The first 15 minutes tonight should tell us how the full 90 will be called. One thing to keep an eye on, RSL Captain Kyle Beckerman is one yellow card away from a suspension.

Match tonight at 7:30. Pregame Coverage begins at 6:30 on ESPN 700.

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