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Real Salt Lake vs. Toronto FC knee-jerk reaction: Just chill out for a minute

Are we starting right where we left off? Is it time to start asking whether we should switch formations?

John Engels

It’s finally here!! The season! So much stuff to read into and over/under react about. I’m excited. Are you guys?

Through most, if not all, of 2016 RSL seemed to struggle in front of goal. The jokes from some have been incessant about Yura saying he “only needed one chance” to score a goal and then, in their minds, struggling to score all year. He was not the only one who fell off or didn’t produce in front of the net — the team as a whole was on the proverbial struggle bus.

Most of the year last year we heard RSL coach Jeff Cassar say, “we just need to keep putting ourselves into good positions, creating chances,” or something of the like. Which, even though it may be hard to hear, is closer to the truth than many would believe.

That said, here we sit after just a single MLS match in 2017 “the second-best team in MLS” last year, and there’s talk about whether or not there is a need to change formations or if we’re on the same path, repeating the same mistakes, and in for a long somewhat sparse season in front of net.

I guess I’ll start with the knee-jerk reaction that everyone just needs to chill out for a minute. Someone in the post-game press conference asked Cassar if not scoring a goal in that match was an indicator that we need to move away from the 4-3-3 and back to a two-striker system. Specifically, he referenced that we ended where we started off last year, not scoring goals when creating opportunities.

I had worried that this year would go something like this, that rational thought had all but left the fan base when it comes to a couple of things. Granted, we probably should have/could have scored some goals. Arguably one or two were nearly there, which is the game at times. What concerns more than the lack of goals is the reaction to zero on the score line after just 90 minutes of soccer.

In that game the discussion should have been less about whether or not the formation is working out and why we’re not scoring goals still and more about fitness and the team coming together. How did our number four left back and number four center back play against the runners up from last year? was the team getting into good goal scoring positions? We’re the attackers taking good shots and making good decisions on and off the ball? How was the press defense implemented and did it work out for us?

There were SO MANY talking points and yet this is what some would like to focus on.

Now, a few days removed (which I will get better at, I promise) the discussion seems to have centered more on things that actually matter, which I and my sanity are grateful for.

Some things to think about and that I’m sure we’ll all discuss endlessly:

Jordan Allen, Albert Rusnak and Joao Plata getting on the same page (which will take some time but hopefully not a lot) could be something REALLY special. There were a few moments where you could see them being just a step or two ahead or behind one another. Watching that move to be easier or more connected will be fun.

The question there is how does Yura fit into that scenario?

Where do the U-20s fit into the squad when they get back to the team? Bofo Saucedo, Dani Acosta, Justen Glad, and Brooks Lennon are all on their way back after winning the CONCACAF U-20 championships and all of them should really press for time. Keep an eye on that over the next two to three weeks.