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Real Salt Lake vs. San Jose Earthquakes: What we learned

Real Salt Lake’s 1-1 draw with San Jose underscored how creative this new-look midfield could be.

First Half

RSL's starting XI:

Van Oekel

Beltran, Schmidt, Horst, Wingert;

Sunny, Nick Besler, Rusnák

Hoffman, Movsisyan, Plata

The Good

Albert Rusnák and Yura Movsisyan were connecting well throughout most of the first half, they were pressing San Jose’s defense early and often and they were aggressive in taking shots, which is something that should please fans. Although it will hurt most to hear this, it is my honest opinion that Albert Rusnák can fill the Javi-sized hole this season. I understand that we have only seen one half, but it was a damn good half.

The MonarchS players invited to play this half were really good. Nick Besler (yes, hated SKC man, Matt Besler’s, brother) played well in the midfield and made some good passes that led to chances. On the other side, Justin Schmidt had a good showing playing alongside David Horst in that center spot. Rusnák also has a tendency to restart fast, which almost gave Plata a chance for a goal as well and should be fun to see this season.

The Bad

There were a lot of turn overs that were sloppy at best and dangerous at worst. We can all get over it knowing that it is the preseason and players are coming together and it will all eventually click, but it was harder to for players to connect passes and move in on San Jose. The fluidity of the match also suffered from the inability for both teams to connect too many passes. This is something that RSL coach Cassar will no doubt look at and work on. It’s only pre-season, after all.

The Ugly

Wondo’s uncontested, tap in goal from 12-ish yards out.

Second half

RSL’s Starting XI:


Phillips, Schuler, Maund, Dunk

Silva, Mulholland, Hernandez

Allen, Barrett, Velazco

The Good

Luke Mulholland and Luis Silva are versatile and amazing at keeping possession. The fact that we have Rusnák, Silva, Sunny, and Luke fighting to play with Beckerman in the midfield is a very exciting factor for the upcoming season. What we learned on Tuesday holds true today: We are doing okay at the goal keeper position. Lalo Fernandez’s confidence in his decision to come out and make a save 1v1 shows how much he has grown.

The Bad

Like the first half, we struggled with connecting passes after a while and it slowed the tempo of the game. The team is still in pre-season form and they’re working with a lot of adjustments, so that is understandable. Our offensive set pieces aren’t looking too great as of now; most of our free kicks weren’t dangerous and those that were didn’t challenge SJ’s keeper.

The Ugly

The Javi-sized hole on penalty kicks