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Real Salt Lake vs. Chicago Fire: What we learned

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When, oh when will we ever score again?

MLS: Real Salt Lake at Chicago Fire Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

We looked pretty good out there at times, but we didn’t score goals. There was abject terror on social media at the prospect of Schmidt starting, but he was strong. So, for all you centerback screamers out there, what now? Our CB depth showed up and played well (we’ll get to the not well in a bit, don’t worry).

Rusnák is showing more of what he has in his toolbox. That guy can dribble. He can pass. He shows up in the right spots. Waibel says six to eight weeks till he’s rocking on all cylinders. He looks better each match. I’m worried that I’ll be repeating that ad nauseum, but I’m hoping that it’s something I’m never able to stop saying.

Those goals

I coached a few years of middle school soccer and, like all coaches—especially coaches of young players—I could often be found bouncing on the sideline screeching at the girls to continue to play until the ref actually blows the whistle. Play till the whistle! It’s become a platitude, but damn if we didn’t see why it holds true. I get that the AR raised his flag. I’m certain that it startled our players, especially when they’re used to play ending when they see those flags. But you can’t stop until it’s done and it’s not done until the person in charge squeals that whistle.

Bad luck off Horst’s heel. Our defending and marking could have been sharper on that second goal, but sometimes luck stings. It happens for us; it happens against us. The way to respond is to make chances and score goals.

Where are our goals?

Is this my lingering question again? We played hard. We got some good chances. But we had one shot of twelve on goal. It looked like a U5 match at times: everybody huddled around the ball and kicking. Find space! Make creative runs! Play intelligently, be patient, remain calm, and execute.

Fitness

Is there something wrong with our training regimen? Is there something wrong with the MLS season? Are players making the right choices in the off-season? We’re hurt. But you know what? Our depth looks good. Silva played well, Velazco played well. Luke changed the game when he came in for a flailing Sunny.

Early season

Sigh. Remember how before I kept saying it’s only preseason? I’m worried I’m about to start repeating that it’s only early season, so we need a hard date where those kinds of statements no longer hold any weight. I was hoping it would be March 4th, but I’m now finding it wasn’t. I’m going to piggyback off Waibel here and say six to eight weeks. A hard date? Ok. Split the difference: seven weeks. RSL, by April 29th vs Sporting Kansas City, had better be inspiring panic around the league. Seven weeks to start smashing in goals, for the midfield to connect with the attackers, for our primary starters to earn their places based on performance and not payroll. No excuses.

Final observations

Sunny needs to earn back his spot. Start Luke.

Kyle Beckerman vs. Dax McCarty at the next UFC!

At least we’re not leading the league in red cards this year.

An astute observation by a dashing, intelligent, handsome RSL supporter (D is for diamond).