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Three things to watch against Chivas USA: Motivation, rotation and clean sheets

Real Salt Lake play Chivas USA on Sunday, and despite Chivas being one of the worst sides we've seen in some time, there will be plenty for RSL fans to watch for.

Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

These Sunday games kill me. We're left waiting for the match for what seems like an eternity, and that it's Chivas we're playing doesn't make things easier. It's like waiting an extra day for a bowl of porridge. And not just any porridge — tepid porridge you're forced to eat before it expires.

Which isn't to say it'll be easy. It never is.

What we watched last week

Who rests or sits out injured?

Who didn't? Tony Beltran, Chris Schuler, Nick Rimando, Robbie Findley. Sebastian Jaime and Ned Grabavoy were on the bench, and they were arguably the best two players once they came on.

Does Jaime impress on the road?

He didn't start, but he looked pretty good once he came on. I'm starting to suspect, though, that he excels in a starting role.

Can RSL remain resolute against a young, promising attacking group?

What does that even mean? They won. That's all.

What to watch for this week

Can RSL get their motivation and concentration in the right place?

These are things you never think will be a problem, but playing a team like Chivas USA can be tricky in that regard. But we should be keeping in mind that they happened to beat us last time we met, and that sort of motivation should be worth exploring. But we should also be motivated to not be terrible, so let's hope for that, too.

Did anybody rotated in show enough to earn a start?

Abdoulie Mansally, our full back replacement for Tony Beltran, did acceptably well, but it was incredible to see how much RSL missed Beltran's play. Carlos Salcedo stepped in ably for Chris Schuler, but he made a huge mistake when he handed Vancouver a penalty. Luis Gil looked lost at times and was somewhat of a non-factor during his time.

On the other hand, Jeff Attinella was brilliant, and he bears no weight in the loss.

Can we get back into good defensive form before the playoffs start?

It's been nearly two months since RSL last kept a clean sheet — Aug. 9 against D.C. United — which isn't nearly good enough. It's one thing to be buzzing as an attack, and it's important to be sure, but it's all so easy to render meaningless when you can't keep a clean sheet. This isn't a case of only defenders needing to step up — it's also about the midfield and, indeed, the forwards.