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Good, bad, and interesting: RSL beats New England 1-0 in first streamed look at 4-3-3

Newcomers impressed, Olmes Garcia struggled to stop fouling the opposition, and we got a good look at the 4-3-3 in our first match of the Desert Diamond Cup, a 1-0 win over New England Revolution.

Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

The first match of our streamable preseason means that we're taking a look at something good, something bad, and something we think is a little interesting. It's our first iteration of the format for 2015, so be kind. Or be rude and tell us what we can do better. Either works, really.


Two of the newcomers looked very comfortable on the team, standing above the already reasonably good fray: Elias Vasquez, center back, and Demar Phillips, left back.

Vasquez was assured and confident in his defensive positioning, stepping in to intercept a pass several times. He was calm in possession, and he looked the part. It only 60 minutes we got to see Vasquez, but fears after losing Carlos Salcedo should be somewhat eased by now.

Phillips looked to have already formed some good understandings in attack, and his marauding runs highlighted the second half. He got into some excellent positions and took a dipping shot the goalkeeper was well-positioned for, but having the confidence and wherewithal to take those shots is an early positive development.


For as positive as Olmes Garcia's play was, his overeagerness led to him making something around four or five fouls in his 30 minutes of action. This isn't an awful thing, and it's not like it's not correctable. And in fact, it might even be somewhat positive when you consider that Garcia is putting himself in better defensive positions wherein foul the player with the ball is even an option. His play outside of that was positive and seemed more mature, but it was a short appearance.

Finding bad things about preseason matches can be really easy, of course. You could point at any number of players and say, "Oh, they underperformed" - but in doing so, you'll be putting yourself in an untenably treacherous position. It is, after all, preseason, and it's not all about perfection. It's instead about expanding skills, trying new things, and gaining new understandings.


The 4-3-3 is the obvious candidate: It was our first real, genuine look at how it's progressing, and early signs seem to be positive. The intangible qualities of the diamond midfield haven't been ripped out, but play happens a bit wider than usual. That, of course, is less the case with Kyle Beckerman out there, who could probably marshal a midfield with five forwards in front of him if he had to.

We'll have more on the formation and how its progressing throughout preseason.