A list of things that have happened since last week:
- Real Salt Lake lost 4-2 against the worst defensive team in league history
- Aaron Maund was injured
- Nick Rimando’s touch failed him
- I got a flat tire
- I got food poisoning
- I ran out of ice cream
- Something in the wall behind my dryer smells TERRIBLE
- Mike Petke got hired as RSL’s new head coach
In a week of truly awful things, that last bullet gives me hope. I’ve been in favor of Mike Petke to RSL for almost two years now, and I think he has a lot of the tools needed to right this ship. It won’t be an overnight job, but despite recent results there is a lot more good with Real Salt Lake than bad. I look forward to seeing what tweaks the New York native has in store.
A look back at Minnesota vs. RSL
I can’t say I’m surprised. Real Salt Lake took a trip to play a Minnesota team that certainly had a lot of motivation to pick up some points at home, and the Loons came out swinging. Christian Ramirez is a great striker who deserves his MLS shot and his brace set the tone for a Minnesota offense that had something to prove.
As for RSL, some bizarre coaching decisions after Maund left injured put the team in a place they never quite recovered from. Mulholland’s early goal was nice, and it’s always good to see Yura score but the midfield has to find some sort of balance between attacking offensively and still protecting the back line. That balance has never looked good in the 4-3-3, and I expect Petke to shake up the formation in coming weeks.
A look forward at RSL vs. Vancouver
The Whitecaps are red hot, coming into this one fresh off a 4-2 victory over the L.A. Galaxy. That game came just days after Vancouver sent their best known player of the past few years, Kekuta Manneh, to Columbus in exchange for Ghanian midfielder Tony Tchani. Tchani only played 26 minutes but his presence seemed to free up Matias Laba, who scored twice after his new midfield partner came on.
This game will be challenging, but I think RSL will show well. The Whitecaps are winless in their other three games, and are middle of the pack in goals allowed. If the home team can roll out anything close to a healthy lineup, this could be a battle.
A look at Orlando vs NYRB
New York has had a disappointing start to the season, which may be a weird thing to say about a team that has won two games and sits above the red line, but it just shows the type of success Red Bull nation has grown accustomed to over the past few years.
On the other hand, Orlando has had a surprisingly good start, winning their first two before falling to Columbus last week on the road. The forward pair of Cyle Larin and Carlos Rivas has been highly effective, and Kreis has organized the team to highlight the talents of those two. Larin’s play has put him on Europe’s radar and he has done New York dirty before:
New York will be among the league’s elite by the time the season ends, and for them this is a chance to right the ship early. For Orlando, it’s a chance to prove they belong in the same conversation. Look for a fun one in Orlando Sunday afternoon.
In a time where everything RSL does is another sign of impending doom, this is a difficult section to write. Or an easy one, because there is SO much material. However, since a lot of the buzz around the team is currently negative, we’ll find a silver lining here, one that hopefully is a sign that things will get better from here. This brings us to Sweater Watch: Injury Crisis. This was in response to my question: “What percentage of RSL's struggles are due to injury, and how much goes to roster construction/talent?”
Actually think that if Petke makes a couple of smart adjustments re: formation & guys get healthy, this team will be fine. Not "great", fine— Matthew Doyle (@MLSAnalyst) April 3, 2017
In 2017 RSL has trotted out their first choice lineup 0 times. They have not started the same tandem in central defense more than once. A fifth choice center back, who is also a rookie, has started in 60% of their games. They have played three different combinations in central midfield. The team’s best player has started just one game.
It’s easy to be doom and gloom on the sputtering start to the season, but in reality the injury crisis is real and any team in the league would struggle with the hand the Claret and Cobalt have been dealt. Are there places on the roster to strengthen? Sure, but in a salary capped league, nobody loses the amount of players RSL does and escapes unscathed.
Man you guys really blew it. Nobody submitted anything to the mailbag this past week which means that if someone would’ve submitted they would’ve had a 100% chance of getting their question answered. IDK math but it seems like those are pretty good odds. I’m so disappointed in y’all that I’m not even going to make up my own question this week. I’m just going to let Skip Bayless shake his head at you.
Again, submit questions via the comments section, to firstname.lastname@example.org, or hit me up on twitter @thejayveesquad.
Quote of the Week
You Changed My Whole Life ❤️ pic.twitter.com/ELwqSnhd0d— Sebastian Velasquez (@TiaN_Futbol) April 3, 2017
Great for Seba. If you don’t know his backstory (or even if you do) check out this link. Great to have him back in the family.