It's finally here. The season opener is today. After a disappointing end to last season and an offseason that saw many changes, we get to see Real Salt Lake in action.
We get to ease our way into 2017 by hosting one of the most dangerous attacks in the league. Toronto FC lost the 2016 MLS Cup without conceding a shot on target and Giovinco, Altidore, Bradley and company will likely have something to prove.
The Back Line
Aaron Maund and Demar Phillips will both miss this match with injury. Justen Glad is still with the U-20 USMNT, so we won’t see him. The line up is likely Wingert at left back, Schuler and Horst as the center back, and Beltran at right back. Having two to three of our defensive starters out against an attacking team like Toronto is going to be tough. Look to see if this set can not only shut down the TFC attack, but also contribute to RSL’s attack.
It’s still unclear if Kyle Beckerman will play as he’s dealing with a bone bruise in his knee.
Albert Rusnak and the attack
There’s a lot to be excited about in the final third between signing Rusnak, Movsisyan’s fitness, and Allen getting a chance at right wing. We’re hoping for more of the same from Plata. Rusnak watching is the new ball watching, and I want to see his movement on field, with and without the ball. Can Allen’s flashes of brilliance in preseason translate into goals and assists in the regular season?
Head Coach Jeff Cassar’s substitution patterns have undoubtedly been one of the biggest fan frustrations. The club has worked on making meaningful substitutions, but the depth of options we now have presents a new challenge. I’m very curious to see who comes in and what positions will be given priority. It will be interesting to see who is seen as trusted to come in during a big match.