I'm trying not to let myself get excited but it seems like the real Joao Plata has returned to the Real Salt Lake starting line up.
That was the kind of dynamic performance that he's capable of that, along with the return of long underrated right back Tony Beltran, spurred RSL onto a 1-0 win. Goals, chances, clean sheet. Perfect performance, right? Well, almost. This is always three things we can do better and sometimes they might be little things but it's always the little things. I'm not every trying to rain on the parade but we're a team that's been killed by the little things, so here are the three things we can do better against Houston.
No More Drama
Football is best when it's entertaining. Everybody wants a game with drama, tension, excitement and passion. I can only imagine what it was like in the stadium as Aaron Maund came to the rescue to hoof the ball off the RSL line and save a certain goal. That clearance was much harder than it looked too as that could have easily been sliced into the open goal. Moments like that are what make games fun and leave the fans wanting more. When they go right. Moments like that, when they go wrong, usually throw 3 points away and condemn a team to another loss, as has been the RSL story for more than a few games this season.
Is that exciting? Yeah it is. Can we rely on heroics from Nick, Aaron or anybody else every game to save us? Absolutely not! Next time around guys, lets not have any close calls!
Calling All Strikers
Joao Plata's game winner was a slump buster for him and the struggling front line that hasn't really gelled this season. Silva is doing an admirable job up front at the moment and arguably should have been on the score sheet if not for heroics from Andre Blake. For me, he's a stop gap solution to a larger issue. Petke and Co need to find a way to get Plata, Rusnak and Yura working together and complimenting each other long term if we're going to be a winning team. Both Plata and Rusnak are hitting a little form time now and Yura is facing a stretch on the bench to try motivate him to take the chances he gets and if these three can link up like they should be able to on paper, we could easily take the game to Houston.
Those points are really going to be key to beating Houston. They are a top quality team and could punish a team repeatedly for not defending effectively or finishing their chances. We should be looking to get a win out of this but in reality a draw is probably a decent result. We need 11 men to be switched on for 90 minutes to walk out of this game with any points.
Don't Believe the Hype
Two wins and two losses in the last four is spotty form and certainly not enough to rest laurels on right now. A win here would be a good sign we've turned all the way around the corner but it's not safe yet. The win against Philly was the most complete performance yet from Real Salt Lake and we bossed almost every part of the game but (no disrespect to the Union) we should have and this isn't something to be surprised over. We need to see this through now and get some wins in a row, break these form dips and start June with a solid win against a tough team.
Short and sweet this time. I'm back in Poland again, hence the delay. I'm actually tempted to see if I would have been able to catch an MLS game on the hotel TV if I was here at the weekend just to see how far the league has reached these days! It has to be said, Americas unmatched patriotism to it's own brands means making something like MLS a success is easy when you get the ball rolling.
That fierce loyalty that what you do is the best in the world is what's created a league that's been the blueprint on how to expand (see China, Australia) or how to revolutionise the game (see VAR, Trades). There's plenty of post on the Soapbox about passion from fans, even one from the local brit. They are a good read and you should check them out while you're surfing the net.. For now, I'm just going to shoehorn a gif in here because I always finish with one and my OCD demands it!