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Three things RSL should do better after beating NYCFC

Be still my beating heart, that was a nice win.

MLS: New York City FC at Real Salt Lake Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

I'm not one for hyperbole, so I won’t make sweeping generalisations so overblown with hype that they can't be backed up, but what I will say is that RSL are absolutely going to win the Supporters Shield and the MLS Cup this season.

I kid, of course. But that was a good win for us on the back of 4 car crash losses and while not perfect if you cut those 4 games out and just stick they NYCFC game after the Colorado game it's a continuation of Petke stamping his style on the squad. We need to tidy up a few things but we were good with the ball and more importantly good without the ball!

Passing vs Possession

Whenever I think about tactics for football I always start with the above argument. Do I want to be a passing team or do I want to be a possession team. Now I know that the two can go hand in hand so I'll clarify:

If you're going to be a possession team, holding the ball up and patiently waiting for passes to open up, you don't need to do a lot of passing but you should win on possession.

If you're going to be a passing team, then you need to be putting in a high accuracy number at the end of the game and can sacrifice possession.

Salt Lake can do either of these if they want to but the stats need to match up. Against New York City we lost on all three of these stats and that's really the thing I think of. Mike Petke said in his press conference that in most games we've been on the right end of statistics and lost so to be on the wrong end and win, while better, still asks questions about our style at the moment. Are we going to not let opposition have the ball and choke the game out like that or are we going to give up the possession battle to the team and just make sure we do something with it when we have it. Quality vs Quantity. We have to win one or the other to stand a chance at putting a play-off team together.

Aftercare

With the number of injuries we've had over the last two months there was rightly much celebration to see Beckerman and Rimando take the field again. However I was more enthused to see Chris Schuler head back onto the pitch.

Chris is a player that, in a different world, would be taking the pitch with Nick and Kyle in the USMNT squad. He was the original Maund and the guy destined to take over from Olave when he left for Red Bulls, but fate would take that from him, leaving him with two career-ending injuries in short succession. But Chris Schuler isn't a normal man in my estimation (not just because he's one of my favourite players) and he's fought back twice for this organisation. Chris could have gone anywhere but he asked to come back to the Monarchs and prove he could still go and he did. Then he found his way in the first team line up and he proved again he is still a top level defender when he wants to be.

We have a lot of players in a similar position. Beltran, Rimando, Kyle, Schuler all have sacrificed their body for the team and while I don't want to say a bad thing about anybody, the Cassar years put much more miles on their already aging bodies than was needed. The club needs to make sure we're investing in our players by keeping them healthy between games and now with a midweek game in the books, these boys need to be in a floating in a pool with a drink in a coconut somewhere for a couple of days.

Keep the Aggression

I bet you were all expecting me to talk about how Yura Movsisyan is still the least effective member of the first team and how he needs to be replaced as soon as possible because he isn't scoring goals or contributing to the style of play that allows Rusnak or our wingers to score either! Nope, not me. See, personal growth.

What I want us to keep up with and not let go is that we made 50+ recoveries and 20+ Interceptions and Clearances. We won 64 duels and managed to disrupt the play enough to win the game. There's nothing wrong with being a dirty, grind it out team. Not everybody can be Barcelona. Smothering an opponent and stopping them playing the game is a great way to hurt teams when they are better than you and as good as RSL can be making the life of these teams hard is just what we need. Let's do more of that please!


Midweek games are always a wildcard. Tired legs can be easy to exploit and the emotion of losing is still so raw it can power teams onto to renew themselves. Seattle will be a real test with a glut of superstars and a dynasty to create they won't want to be shown up by losing to a team who are still down at the bottom of the barrel. I predicted RSL would win because I'll always back the team but I also really do believe in MLS that anybody can beat anyone when the weekend rolls around. I expect a tough game but if we get in, get a goal and then set up behind the goal we could be looking at the best smash and grab since, well since...