First off, I'd like to say hello to anyone who reads this, I am, like this article's title suggests, a newcomer to the exciting world of Real Salt Lake Soccer. I am, in fact, a newcomer to the sport itself, having only started watching (and playing) any form of soccer this last year. I am still learning the intricacies of the strategy, and lord knows that I can't handle the stats like our good Matt Montgomery. I am happy to report that I have learned a majority of the rules in this year's time, and am excited to get to know our new squad. The first time I saw RSL play was last year, and this year me and my wife are proud to be members of the pride. I tell you all of this, because I am giving an outsider's perspective, who is new but ready to learn about Real Salt Lake soccer.
I have to say, that given the heart attack that we all received when the changes were announced at the end of last year, this squad is turning out to be pretty promising. I am thoroughly impressed by the preseason of our squad, especially the class act that our "second strings" were able to put in. This preseason was pretty successful, all things considered. We played with our reserve squad a majority of the time, and were able to see them succeed more and more as they learned the team's style. We made it to the finals of the DDC when most people had given up hope. There is plenty to look forward to.
I (having never seen Robbie Findley play) am incredibly impressed by his showing on Saturday, Valasques was feeding him, and he was making the plays happen, and I'm excited to see them come together, and to see the magic that will happen with the return of Morales. I have always loved watching Saborio, and this preseason didn't disappoint me. Plata is going to be a lot of fun, and I can see his play-style allowing for more depth in the attacking strategies that Kries can deploy. And I am incredibly excited to see how Garcia turns out.
The midfield to me has seemed rushed compared to league play last year, I don't know if it's the players on the opposition being more aggressive to show they deserve a spot, or what, but they don't seem as comfortable with possession as last years squad did. In their defense, they've made a lot of magic happen, and have worked fairly well in that situation.
The defense seems to be stuck on a roller-coaster of consistency, there's moments where I can do nothing but applaud them in their quick reactions and intelligent play. But then there's moments like the goal that Seattle got, where a red palm shaped on my face is all that I feel. All I can say is thank goodness for Nick Rimando.
Sorry that I'm a bit long-winded, but in the end, I think we have a lot of potential this year, and I think that us fans all have a role to play. We have built a fortress out of the RioT, and come March 16th I think we'll see a brand new RSL, stronger than ever.