Real Salt Lake earned their first win of preseason yesterday in a mid-day match with New York Red Bulls, downing their opponents 1-0 with a Jordan Allen goal.
Rightly, that’s exciting — not because it means everything, or even that it means that much, but because we get to watch Real Salt Lake play soccer again. It’s been too long, friends.
RSL Soapbox newcomer Andy Graff (welcome him, if you will!) covers some of what we learned watching the match, and he has some salient points to consider.
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.
But he’s also not panicking.
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.
Commenters here — you fine folk, as it were — have mixed opinions on the match. Vatoloko had this to say this morning about the roster.
Is it just me or has Waibel built possibly the strongest group of TAM/GAM players in the league? I think we have some of the best mid-tier and affordable players, well-balanced with very talented youth.
Fitness is the one thing that differentiates who is serious about winning and who isn’t! Think of it this way. If we were to show up to a new job and we couldn’t even make it to the lunch break, we would not have a bright future at most employers. Yes, it isn’t apples to apples but the point is that it is expected that people who show up to work, are prepared enough to make it through the whole day.
But if you were worried about Kyle Beckerman not playing in two consecutive scrimmages, don’t worry: I’ve been told by RSL Communications that — as I suspected — he’s not playing simply because he’s a known quantity at this point, and that there aren’t any fitness concerns to speak of.
Want to watch yesterday’s goal in slow-motion? Here you go. Play it. You’ll enjoy it. (Embed doesn’t work? Try this page.)
While we were watching, three distinct news items came out. First, five of our players, in one sense or another, made the U.S. U-20 camp in preparation for the World Cup qualifying CONCACAF U-20 Championship. Then, we learned during the broadcast that Emery Welshman is in the “RSL/Monarchs” preseason camp — and while he’s not a lock for a contract, he’s in contention. Finally, the Real Monarchs schedule was released, and most dates overlap with RSL.
Of course, with that last point, the club has made known that they have a viewing strategy in mind.
Off-the-field, it looks like the bromance between Joao Plata and Olmes Garcia isn’t going away. That’s a real relief.
And finally, if you’re looking to rewatch yesterday’s match, you certainly can. There’s an embedded video below. Enjoy!
Coming up today? Look for our player ratings and man of the match coverage, and we’ll also start getting into our next match: We face San Jose Earthquakes on Friday. I’ll be there, so if you will be, too, let’s meet up.