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Scouting report: Three keys for RSL against Herediano

Having taken a bit of time last night to watch RSL's CONCACAF Champions League opponent, Costa Rica's C.S. Herediano, I've taken some notes on their training approach and the things on which they've focused.

Matt Montgomery

Having taken a bit of time last night to watch RSL's CONCACAF Champions League opponent, Costa Rica's C.S. Herediano, I've taken some notes on their training approach and the things on which they've focused.

Shooting from distance: Their goalkeeper - I believe their starting one, though that's up for debate - was faced with a barrage of shots from 18 to 30 yards out, and by and large, he did quite well with them. With Herediano through with a draw, they may be looking at a situation where those finest of margins could decide the match - defending shots from distance would help them do that.

RSL Keys: With Will Johnson back in the RSL side, our distance shooting certainly gets an upgrade. If Luis Gil starts over Ned Grabavoy, too, there's a potential boost there. Additionally, the midfield will need to respond quickly to Herediano possession in the final third, snuff it out, and prevent long shots.

Switching flanks: Herediano spent some time with cross-field balls, and given that they're strong out wide, there's no big surprise here. It would seem to indicate a focus on wide attacking areas, which we should be strong in with Tony Beltran and Chris Wingert.

RSL Keys: Beltran and Wingert will need to shift their attention to these long balls to win possession quickly and efficiently. By scuppering their wide efforts, RSL can attack through the center of the park more easily.

Crossing: This one shouldn't be too much of a surprise. A team that focuses in wide areas will naturally put some work into crossing, but these were all fairly low, drilled crosses. We're certainly more vulnerable to those than floated crosses - Chris Schuler, Jamison Olave and Nat Borchers each have no real trouble with those - but drilled crosses shifts the approach. Again, Beltran and Wingert are key.

RSL Keys: Defend drilled crosses by 1) blocking crosses in the first, and 2) making effective clearances. With a potential back line of Schuler and Borchers, the worries are slightly abdicated, but there still is some slight cause for concern.