It is much too simple of an argument to point at one player or the lack thereof and lay all of the blame on them for what happened in L.A. on Saturday night. RSL lost, and they lost bad. There's no getting around that and there's no excuse for it.
But if we are being honest, the warning signs were there. RSL is not going to repeat what they did in Kansas City every time. In Kansas City, Cassar trotted out a lineup that not too many people expected to get a result. Not only did they get a result, they won. Many players that had not seen many minutes to that point were given an opportunity to shine. In this one, four or five mainstays were out of the lineup for most or all of the game. You aren't going to go on the road, especially in L.A., and make magic every time. The odds just aren't there. It's not realistic.
Some fans immediately blamed Jamison Olave for the 5-2 drubbing. You could make the argument that Olave got beat once, maybe two times which led to goals. But there is no way that he was the only culprit, nor does one center back set the tone for an entire team's let down. If you want to argue that Justen Glad should be starting, that is fine. But the game against the Galaxy is not your best case in point. If this game is your argument, then by that logic Tony Beltran, Luke Mulholland, Kyle Beckerman, Aaron Maund, and Chris Wingert all need to sit the bench the rest of the year.
Some fans point to the lack of Javier Morales as the reason for the tailspin in the first half. There is some base to that, but RSL got by just fine without him the past few games, so that doesn't carry a lot of water either.
The reasons Salt Lake had such a poor showing are many. If you look at every goal scored, there were various things that went wrong including but not limited to players not tracking runners, midfielders not staying in the center of the field, miscommunication, last gasp defense, and a lack of calm control in the middle that would have slowed things down like they did in the second half. Against L.A., RSL was without Joao Plata, Sunny, and for the most part, Javier Morales and Burrito Martinez. Those are four very important if not most important cogs to making the Real Salt Lake engine run smoothly, at least that is what we can assume seven games into the season. Sunny brings the grit on the defensive side of the ball and takes pressure off of Kyle to do it all in that part of the field. Morales and Burrito keep the ball in front of the team and create scoring chance after scoring chance. And Plata, he's played to the caliber of an MVP of the league so far. Take those four players away and it's not that surprising that the Galaxy looked dominant. Those are four difference makers. And let's not kid ourselves. The mistakes that RSL were making earlier with slow starts and miscues were punished this time around, plain and simple.
It is depressing to lose like that, but from coaches to commentators, all agree that there is something special about this locker room. They'll bounce back. And as we've seen so far thus year, when healthy, RSL can compete with the best in the region.