So if you were able to read my match preview you know that I thought there were 3 things that RSL would need to do:
For RSL this means a clean sheet, even without Olave they have proven that they can keep opponents from finding the back of the net, and that should be the first goal of the match. The second goal should be to dominate the possession of the match, it has been one of our strengths over the last couple seasons and even in the losing effort last weekend RSL had the better of possession, I wouldn't be surprised if we are able to get 60% of the possession on Saturday but it means we will need to go back to attacking the ball quickly and winning the 50-50 balls. Finally is shots and goals, in 2010 RSL had the most goals scored of any team in MLS and so far this year the team has looked much less potent on offense, but I don't believe that is actually true. I think it has been that RSL has been playing with too much caution, looking for the perfect passes and shots, I believe that if you take shots and put passes into the area that good things will happen and I hope that RSL will go back to being a team that takes a lot of shots and makes opposing keepers work hard to prevent us from scoring.
I think this match should end up with a clear RSL win, going to say it ends up 2-0.
So the first one was a clean sheet, well RSL allowed just 7 shots and 4 of them were on goal but none was able to get past Nick Rimando who now has 0.44 GAA and 6 clean sheets.
more after the jump:
The second goal was to do what made RSL such a solid team, dominate possession and they did just that with 61% of the possession in the match and 83% passing accuracy with 485 passes. That is simply impressive.
The third goal was shots, and boy did RSL answer with 24 shots, 8 on goal, but for me the most impressive thing was that almost everyone got into the action. Fabi took 6, Jean took 4, Kyle had 3, Chris Schuler, Ned, Collin, and Andy Williams all had 2 shots. Those types of numbers lead to goals, and the 2-0 score line.
So there were a couple of things that I really wanted to point out that you might have missed on Saturday, first Ned Grabavoy was simply huge. Everytime I looked through my viewfinder on my camera to follow the action, you could seen Ned, clearly he did some great things on and off the ball and I just wanted to say "Well done". Second, was Chris Schuler, trying to fill in for MLS defender of the year Jamison Olave isn't easy, but I thought Chris did a very good job, he broke up a number of plays and was really good in providing coverage for Chris Wingert when he moved forward as part of the offensive efforts. I could go on player by player, as I simply believe that everyone who saw action was very good and I expect that we will see them build on this performance.
This week will be tough for RSL, they already are out on the road getting ready for two tough matches away from Rio Tinto Stadium, first up is a Wednesday showdown with the Crew in Columbus and then a monster match with the team at the top of the Eastern Conference, the Philadelphia Union, on Saturday afternoon. If RSL can come out of this week with 6 points, then they will stake their claim to the top spot of Power Rankings around the league, 4 points will convince people that they are back in form and a contender for the Supporters' Shield and more, anything less will have a lot of people still wondering about what RSL is capable of.
OFF MY SOAPBOX