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Real Salt Lake vs. New York Red Bulls: What we learned

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What can we take from RSL’s preseason matchup with RBNY?

MLS: New York Red Bulls at Real Salt Lake Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

We played against a team today who aren’t looking to get to season form, but who need tournament form to push them into CCL play at the end of February. The Red Bulls controlled much of the match tempo, but Allen scored off a patient Velazco cross in the 83rd minute. So what did RSL show us through two groups playing forty-five minutes today?

We’re solid on goalkeepers. Matt Van Oekel had a good first half and Fernandez played a tremendous second half. I would be comfortable with either keeper minding our net, and neither of them are Nick Rimando. Fernandez had a handful of strong saves and continues improving each season. He’s a player to be excited about.

There is some serious competition on our team for positions of depth. There has been a lot of criticism about Cassar’s substitution patterns with RSL. Over the past couple of seasons, I often found myself wanting a substitution to be made, but also wondering who we had that I trusted enough to come in and make an impact. We’ll have some strong options this year. Some serious bench firepower. I’d argue Luke Mulholland was our best man on the pitch today and he’s a depth guy. There’s diversity in our substitutes that will allow Cassar to change the flow of games and respond to on-field concerns.

We also learned that preseason is not the MLS regular season. I know. That begs the question—petitio principii . It’s a fallacy. But I stand by my bad logic. We are in preseason form and we have a long way to go. Fitness needs to improve if we’re going to hit the ground running come March 4th. Thirty minutes into each half, legs already started to look heavy. The energy levels fell. It looked like preseason. Because it is. And that’s what preseason is for, right?

Anything you noticed that just has to be shared? You can watch the match here and let us know in the comments.