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What we’re watching in RSL vs. the Union

RSL take on a very hot Philadelphia Union

MLS: Real Salt Lake at Philadelphia Union Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Real Salt Lake host the Philadelphia Union this Saturday at Rio Tinto stadium. The Union have had a drastic turn around this season after losing their first three games. They came back to tie two, and have won the last four. Real have many of the same problems that we’ve faced all season; injuries, players gone with international duty, and now the captain is suspended for this match.

The Mid Field

One of the biggest disappointments for me last week was how ineffective Holness was in the mid field. I really want him to be good, but he just didn’t show up. Our midfield has struggled to connect meaningful passes and to get into good positions to move the ball up field. With Kyle out this week, it’s going to feel shaky. Watch for passing and movement in the middle. Improving here will lead to more scoring opportunities.

Who Plays Up Top

There’s been a lot of talk lately about Plata’s performance and even his desire to be at the club. Movsisyan’s recent comments about his frustrations at not starting, plus Petke’s response, point to some turmoil up top. On the other hand, RSL just signed forward Jefferson Savarino, who has been a difference maker in the attacking third. In addition, Luis Silva has shown improvement in the last two games. When on the field, Velazco always looks hungry for goal. RSL only have 11 goals this season (second to last, with DC and Colorado tied in last at 9 goals each) so we must see improvement here.


Captain Kyle Beckerman was suspended for this match and given an undisclosed fine for a tackle on Seattle Sounder’s Clint Dempsey in last weekend’s match. Kyle is undoubtedly the leader of this team. When he’s on the field, the whole team is better. But KB5 is getting older and we need to see who can step up and take the reins on the field. This match might provide some insight into that. Beltran should be returning and he is one of the veterans on the team. Luke certainly leads by work rate example. Rimando is another voice of authority on field. There are a lot of players who have potential to contribute here, so look to see who helps direct the team.