It could not have been a better day for some football. If only the weather was as good as the production on the pitch. Real Salt Lake learned the day prior to the matchup that star center back Marcelo Silva had injured his hamstring in training and will be unavailable to take any part against LAFC. Enter David Horst to the starting lineup, the only change from a week ago against FC Dallas.
RSL went up 1-0 thanks to a penalty kick from Joao Plata in the 20th minute, only to concede 5 goals and lose 5-1. Carlos Vela had a lot to do with every attacking play by the visitors; his skill, touch, and finishing ability were too much for RSL on a day they would like to forget.
1. The back 4 needs more help!
Any midfielder would tell you that getting involved in attacking play is fun. Defending is tedious and exhausting. Real Salt Lake learned that the hard way. There were far too many occasions where LAFC were counter-attacking with 1 or 2 extra players than Real Salt Lake. The midfielders and wingers had a very difficult time getting back and helping out on defense. This allowed space for the likes of Carlos Vela and Diego Rossi to operate in, the score speaks for itself.
2. Lack of chemistry or lack of effort?
Real Salt Lake did a much better job controlling possession against LAFC (60%). However, when RSL got into their attacking third they often found themselves stuck. There were very few runs being made in the hope of creating space for other teammates to thrive in. Does this come down to lack of effort or lack of chemistry? I do not know, but we will quickly find out over the coming weeks.
3. Learn how to work the spine
Thus far this season Real Salt Lake have predominantly attacked through the wings. Luis Silva and Alfredo Ortuno have not been able to work themselves into games and are constantly relying on crosses into the box or quick, short passes with there back to the goal. This needs to change. Strikers dream of one on one opportunities and for Real Salt Lake it seems as though they are light years away from ever getting Luis Silva or Ortuno in a one on one position. Plata and Savarino are working in behind defenders, why can’t Silva or Ortuno join that party?
4. Take a deep breath
I understand the frustration and I think you have every right to feel agitated. But do me a favor, take a deep breath. Expectations for this team are high, as they should be, but there are still 32 games left in the regular season for Real Salt Lake. Craig Waibel and staff made 9 acquisitions over this offseason, there are a lot of new faces around the club still adjusting to the routine and system. I have no doubt this team will get rolling eventually, it may just take longer than most had hoped for.