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RSL vs. New York Red Bulls: What we’re watching

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Daryl Shore’s men take on a tough New York team. Will they respond to Cassar’s firing this week?

MLS: Sporting KC at Real Salt Lake Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

If you’re anything like me, you’ve been anxiously awaiting this match since about, well, Monday at 4 p.m., and before that, all you had was a sense of dread.

That’s not a statement about past coaching, though. At least, it shouldn’t be. I wasn’t dreading this one because of Jeff Cassar, but because I really don’t think we’re fit enough to want to play a match during an international window. But things being what they are, we’re playing, and we’ll have to deal with that.

What will we be watching for over at the Soapbox, you ask? Well, here’s what I think.

Who plays?!

The following players were listed in the injury and absence report:

OUT

  • Nick Rimando (international duty)
  • Albert Rusnak (international duty)
  • Kyle Beckerman (red card suspension)

QUESTIONABLE

  • Justen Glad (ligament something or other) — he’s definitely out, though, because I saw him post on his Instagram story three hours ago, and it sure didn’t look like he and Jordan Allen (spoilers!) are in a hotel. Unless, of course, it’s a hotel with a dog and a dining room table. (The dog was so cute.)
  • Jordan Allen (knee... trouble?) is apparently out and not just questionable, too. See above.
  • Joao Plata (hip contusion) doesn’t appear in any of the photos or video the club’s produced. Don’t count on him being there.
  • David Horst (knee stuff) is probably not playing, because the three center backs you can see in a club video are Aaron Maund, Chris Schuler and Justin Schmidt.
  • Chad Barrett (really? knee stuff, too) is almost certainly out. Whee.
  • Tony Beltran (back) is out, too. Again, he’s not in any club run-up video.

MAYBE ALRIGHT

  • Aaron Maund (hamstring) is in New York, so maybe he plays. Maybe.

Predicted lineup and bench

Starting XI

Matt Van Oekel; Chris Wingert, Chris Schuler, Justin Schmidt, Demar Phillips; Sunny, Luke Mulholland; Brooks Lennon, Luis Silva, Sebastian Saucedo; Yura Movsisyan

Bench

Lalo Fernandez, Aaron Maund, Reagan Dunk, Danilo Acosta, Omar Holness, Jose Hernandez, Ricardo Velazco

The new boss

Daryl Shore has moved from assistant coach to interim head coach, and that’s given us plenty to pay attention to. I could probably end with this one and we’d all be happy. Maybe I will, maybe I won’t. (Maybe I should plan these things ahead of time, too.)

Anyway, there are a number of things we’ll be watching from Daryl Shore. Will he play the same 4-2-3-1 setup? (Yes, probably.) Will he play anybody we wouldn’t expect to see? (Maybe, but he’s not really given too much of a choice right now.) Will he eke out a result, or will the team respond in glorious fashion? (Who knows, really.)

Players we should watch

Let’s take a more player-specific look here. I’d like to see a few things.

  • Luis Silva, please be excellent. You’ve got the right skills and abilities, and I do think you can play a critical role.
  • Brooks Lennon, you do you. Again. Wow. Oh, and Saucedo? Yeah, the same.
  • Yura Movsisyan, show that what you said after Jeff Cassar’s firing wasn’t just talk. Step up, and show everyone how it’s done.

From the literature

Even without sacking the manager, the performance of the control group bounces back in the same fashion and at least as strongly as the performance of the clubs that fired their managers. An extraordinary period of poor performance is just that: extraordinary. It will auto-correct when players return from injury, shots stop hitting the post, or fortune shines her light on you once more. the idea that sacking managers is a panacea for a team’s ills is a placebo. It is an expensive illusion.

The Numbers Game by Chris Anderson and David Sally, p. 287

OK, so I’m not claiming here that we should think that Cassar’s firing won’t change anything at the club. I’m just saying, we shouldn’t expect an immediate turnaround in results. Anyway, this is a good book and well worth a read.