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Three things to watch for against FC Tucson in Desert Diamond Cup

Real Salt Lake takes on USL PDL side FC Tucson today in what's sure to be a match of some sort. We have things we're watching for — what about you?

Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

How's RSL fare against lower-league opposition?

Real Salt Lake has not always been fantastic against lower-league opposition — whether this is down to a systemic lack of preparedness or perhaps to something else entirely is difficult to say. But it's not like we've been the Jack-slayers (as opposed to giant-sla— oh, it's awful, never mind) — we've kind of eked by sometimes, and we've struggled sometimes. But with this new-look squad and a bit of patience, can RSL pick off the weak points of FC Tucson?

What's the center back pairing look like?

Will we see a Jamison Olave-Chris Schuler pairing, or are we bound to see something a bit more experimental? It all comes down to what the goal of this friendly is for RSL coach Jeff Cassar. Is he looking to see more definitive work from his squad, or is he instead focusing on building up the squad? These are difficult questions for the likes of us, but for him, it's probably all crystal clear.

Some things to focus on with the center backs:

  • How's the communication between the pair?
  • Who tends to step forward, and who tends to step backward?
  • How's the passing out of the back? Do the passes tend to be longer, or are they, on average, a bit shorter?
  • How do they work with the full back on their side?

What roles do the three midfielders take up?

After having watched our first Desert Diamond Cup match, we should be wondering what approach the midfield takes. We saw two different styles — one a bit more swashbuckling (the one with Kyle Beckerman, Luis Gil, and Javier Morales) and one that struggled to build continuity (that's the one with John Stertzer, Luke Mulholland, and Lucas Baldin). Will we see a mix of the two? Can the midfield support Luis Gil and Javier Morales both playing attacking roles? These are questions with which we'll be faced today.