While we were hoping to get some answers ahead of next week's CONCACAF Champions League match through this game, we probably ended up with more questions than we had before.
That's because the match was designed as a first-team affair, and the substitution patterns were in line with that thought. RSL coach Jeff Cassar made two substitutions; one was switching Sunny for Justen Glad (following Aaron Maund's red card), the other was switching Yura Movsisyan out for Olmes Garcia.
But if it was a first-team lineup they were looking for, it wasn't a first-team performance they received — at least in some aspects. The attack was fizzing and zipping around, and the goals came with relative ease, but the defense was simply not right.
1. Can RSL get the defense right?
We saw a central defensive pairing of Jamison Olave and Aaron Maund that, simply put, wasn't good enough. Several times, a long ball just broke down the defense — that speaks to organizational problems, but it also speaks to a lack of awareness. The two central defenders should be at the best angles to make recovery runs, but it wasn't particularly effective.
2. Where's Jordan Allen?
We still don't really know why Jordan Allen hasn't seen true minutes in preseason — and it's starting to get a little weird. The club has said it's because he's a known quantity, but there's something there that doesn't ring true. Allen may be a known player in a couple roles, but there hasn't been any on-field evaluation we've seen of him at the attacking midfield spot.
Now, we're probably reading too much into this — getting Jordan Allen meshing with the first team is, at this point, less important than having the first team being molded around Javier Morales. It could even be that Allen is some sort of secret weapon that the team is avoiding showing Tigres, although I somehow doubt that.
Whatever the case, this remains a question mark over the team right now.
3. How will RSL cope with a staggeringly good Tigres attack?
We've seen in various highlights that Tigres forward Andres Gignac is capable of scoring from basically anywhere — he scored one from 35 yards out the other day that just zipped over the goalkeeper, for example — and that makes us a little terrified.
We're left wondering how the midfield and defense will cope with Tigres. Now, we're lucky to have a poor defensive result here, so we're not surprised against Tigres, but it does leave a huge question mark over things.
But while we focused on the defense above, there's also a midfield responsibility here, and there's a discussion to be had about tactics. The team is trying to win the ball higher up the pitch, and that's going to cause some issues in the midfield initially. As a result, they're more likely to be caught out by a quick long pass — and that's what we saw.
So against Tigres, will RSL try to win the ball high up the pitch? Will they be in a better position to respond to a quick long pass? We're left wondering — but at least seeing problems now means we can respond to them instead of being surprised by them.