With the 3-3 draw with the Portland Timbers, we were able to see a game that did feature a lot of, I’m assuming, the starting 11 that will take the field at Rio Tinto in about 3 weeks.
We were able to see the new number 11, Albert Rusnak. He did seem to need some time to acclimate to the game but that was expected and he was able to pick up his play for the 2nd part of the 1st half, but there was a player who made the most significant impact was Demar Phillips.
He was able to go up and down the left hand side and push the defense back on their heels. He was able to cut back and forth and was able to complete a lot of give-and-go passes with Yura Movsisyan, Mulholland, Plata and Rusnak. He did a great job at getting forward into position to complete crosses in front of the goal. Although many of his crosses did not reach a head of an RSL attacker, his physicality was felt by the right back for the Timbers.
Not only was he great on the offensive end, but he was able to be a defensive presence as well. He was able to recover fairly quickly and challenged every ball and every play that would come his way. He was caught out of position, but it was because he was able to press forward and due to RSL’s defensive shape, was able to recover with ease by having Mulholland recover back.
With less than a month away from opening day, RSL is slowly but surely getting into regular season form and if they are able to get the 4-2-3-1 formation to work, we should potentially see a lot more goals from the team.