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RSL Talking Points: Manchester United friendly

Here’s everything you need to know ahead of tomorrow’s big exhibition match.

Manchester United v Los Angeles Galaxy Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

This is the first in a series that aims to address the major talking points before a Real Salt Lake match. It’s designed to catch you up before a match, so if you haven’t been following closely, you’ll be able to get the major points down quickly.

  • Real Salt Lake faces Manchester United, one of the top teams in England since 1992
  • This is Real Salt Lake’s second big exhibition in as many years. Last year saw Inter Milan.
  • RSL lost to Inter Milan, 2-1, after an outstanding goal from Stevan Jovetic.
  • Manchester United is set to play their big new signing, Lukaku.
  • Lukaku scored the winning goal for Belgium against the U.S. in the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
  • International standout Zlatan Ibrahimovic won’t be playing with Manchester United after his contract wasn’t renewed. (He might end up re-signing, but not in time for him to appear here.)

  • Manchester United just completed their first U.S.-based friendly of the year, beating LA Galaxy 5-2 in Carson, California.
  • Don’t worry too much, though. RSL beat the Galaxy 6-2, meaning we’re a better team.

  • The friendly comes at a busy time for RSL: The team plays again on Wednesday in an MLS match against Portland Timbers.
  • Because of that, expect to see RSL’s starters for only a short time, roughly 30 minutes. Expect to see reserve players and Real Monarchs players for a longer period of time.
  • Not all Real Monarchs players can be involved. Age restrictions will keep Sebastian Velasquez and Chandler Hoffman out of contention. They’re both 26.

  • Real Salt Lake’s highest-paid player, Yura Movsisyan, might not be appearing. He suffered a hip injury in training recently and has been working off to the side.
  • Brooks Lennon also suffered an injury recently. He’s been training nearly fully, so he might play. Lennon is on loan from Liverpool, one of Manchester United’s chief rivals.
  • Ricardo Velazco, Jordan Allen, and Omar Holness are al players who would likely benefit from an appearance. They’re all out for extended periods.

  • RSL’s latest signing, Marcelo Silva, is likely to start. He’s a Uruguayan center back, and he most recently played at Real Zaragoza in Spain.
  • How long Silva plays might depend on how well he’s fitting in. If he’s ready to play 90 minutes, he might play only a short time to prepare him for that. If not, maybe he plays more.

  • There’s a lot of discussion right now about what value this match brings for RSL.
  • The best option is probably exposure, which this match provides. It’s a fine balance between exposure and humiliation, certainly.
  • RSL’s strategy likely comes down to one thing: Don’t push the first-team starters too hard, and give young players a chance to impress.