Last week, we asked ourselves three questions about RSL and our match against Philadelphia Union. Let's go over those questions and ask ourselves three more for this week for our match against Portland Timbers.
What we watched for last week:
How does the midfield look?
Last week, we wondered how the midfield would look without Luis Gil. With Luke Mulholland starting and Sebastian Velasquez coming off the bench, we actually looked pretty solid. Mulholland struggled a bit late in his appearance (fitness, etc), but it gave a clear path to get Velasquez into the game. Everyone else looked business as usual, as ever
How do we handle Maurice Edu?
So, about that. We actually did alright dealing with him, but in a more box-to-box role, he wasn't honestly the most dangerous midfielder in their lineup. Still, that goal ... at any rate, that's not about "handling Edu" - that's about something else altogether. Not to brush it under the carpet, but we talked about it earlier in the week.
Where does our firepower come from?
Somehow, this wasn't at all a problem. Both goals came from the midfield, with both chances taken exceeding well. Beckerman's late run and ensuing goal, and Mulholland's finish off of yet another rebound gave us plenty of cause for hope. Late runs from the midfield are an essential part of what we're doing tactically.
What to watch for this week:
If Gil returns to a starting position, how does he perform?
Luis Gil is, by all accounts, fit and ready to go. If he starts on Saturday, does he get right back to his high level we've seen at home? Is it possible that he's a player that's simply not good when dealing with an injury? That's a tricky thing and it's hard for any young player to cope.
Will Joao Plata get a substitute appearance?
Joao Plata is back in full training this week, and that should mean he's ready to at least play. Is his hamstring an issue we need to worry about right now, or is he good to go? If he is fit for a 30 minute performance, do we see him on the bench, in case we need him? Or do we save him for next week?
Can Portland wake up from this awful start they're having, or do we remain dominant over them?
Portland Timbers haven't had success against us in some time. In fact, we've really just been the better side over the last year, even if they did end with one more point than we did. Can we continue that trend? Portland's backs are against the wall, and that doesn't put us in the best position. What happens?