Real Salt Lake was excellent in their 2-0 win over New York City FC, and while the build-up was all about Jason Kreis and his return to Rio Tinto Stadium, the aftermath is all about the home team.
Where to start? Everything from RSL was just, well, pretty good — and it's hard to complain when that's the case. But it's also equally hard to find one thing to talk about — and maybe that's the point. Real Salt Lake put together a complete game, with Jeff Cassar praising that in his post-match press conference.
Too often, Real Salt Lake has struggled for stretches. That's quite a normal thing, but the substitutions afforded to Jeff Cassar allowed the team to continue in that vein. Javier Morales as a substitute will be rare, but quality tactical substitutions are something Cassar can always strive toward.
What is there to say, aside from the fact that RSL didn't score three or four goals? This really was a very nice game from RSL, and although there were some early struggles, the team quickly corrected them and got to work playing one of the most complete games we've seen from them in a long time.
Oh, here we go — bad: RSL didn't beat a better team tonight. NYCFC were not good, and RSL made them pay. RSL has to continue to show this well against teams with good records. That's hardly a true 'bad', but that's alright, isn't it?
Oh, and one other thing — after the first five minutes, RSL was fantastic, but those first five were a bit hairy. There were just a few too many corners to start things off, and that made it difficult.
Real Salt Lake continued with the 4-1-3-2, even when Javier Morales entered the match. It continued to look like a good shape at that point, and while that doesn't mean it has to continue once everybody's fit, we can see that it's still an option.
But while the shape was a 4-1-3-2, we saw Luis Gil drop a little more alongside Kyle Beckerman, while Luke Mulholland played pushed up to the right — the same spot he was before the shift. Morales floated around, as he is wont to do, as he'll typically spend his matches floating around to find space and connections. It worked very well and pushed NYCFC back into more defensive positions — as a result, they ended up controlling the game more when up 2-0 than when they were tied 0-0. That seems like a bit of an oddity.