Weathering the weather
The weather in Salt Lake City tonight is — shall we say — inhospitable. The wind should be kicking around all day, and there looks likely to be a bit of precipitation. The rain won't hurt RSL — having the ball zip around the field helps our play a bit. The wind, though, can be problematic. On goal kicks, we have to wonder where the ball's going to end up; when clearing the ball, we know it might come right back to us. The wind doesn't seem quite that strong now, but gusts can be problematic. (It's looking like 16-23 mph is likely.)
Waldo Robbie Keane
We've got to keep an eye on Robbie Keane, who is probably one of the harder players to mark in MLS. His movement is good, and his ability to score from difficult positions renders it a job requiring more attentiveness. We've got to be aware of where Keane is at all times, because he's going to be bouncing from defensive marking zone to zone.
Watch the wings
LA Galaxy's Gyasi Zardes and Landon Donovan are two players who could make an impact cutting in from wide positions, which leaves RSL in a tricky position. How do we handle this? It's fairly straightforward to deal with out-and-out wingers — you leave the fullbacks out wide to defend and drop the wider midfielders to defend the channels. But instead, we're forced to deal with players who will start wide then end centrally, and it becomes increasingly easy to defend them poorly. Perhaps we drop Grabavoy and Mulholland into wider positions at times to cover the wider spots, then leave Wingert and Beltran a bit more narrow to cover the channels.