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RSL vs. Columbus Crew: What we learned

We watched RSL earn their second straight draw at home, while giving up a 2-1 lead in the process. What can we take away from it?

MLS: Columbus Crew SC at Real Salt Lake Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

All the chances in the world don’t equal three points

Plain and simple, RSL dominated the stats sheet tonight. They outshot the Crew 20-13, controlled 63% of possession, and boasted better passing with an 88% accuracy, compared to the 75% Columbus put up.

What difference does that all make, when both teams notched the same number of goals? Honestly, it doesn’t.

The kicker about these stats is that Columbus only put two of their 13 shots on frame. That’s right, 100% of their shots on target ended up in the back of the net. RSL put seven on goal, good for 29%, which, if I did my math right, is a lot lower than 100.

Columbus ‘keeper Zack Steffen ended up making three saves on the night, while other shots were saved by close calls and goal line clearances. Seven of RSL’s 20 shots ended up off target altogether, including a golden chance by late game sub Yura Movsisyan that went just wide.

The bottom line is that while RSL’s attack easily looked better than the Crew’s overall, if they can’t find a way to finish their chances more often, this can become a slippery slope yet again. Luckily, we’ve seen what our attack can look like in the very recent past (10 goals in two games), so let’s hope we can get back to that as quickly as possible.

No team is an easy win

Columbus came to Utah battered, exhausted, and depleted. They had just suffered a 3-0 loss in Philadelphia three nights before, which included losing two of their center backs to red cards. They were even missing arguably their most creative and influential player in Federico Higuain. Three points were RSL’s for the taking.

A lot of people — me included — kinda considered this game ”in the bag” before it even started. With the way RSL had been playing on both sides of the ball lately, I thought there was no way they wouldn’t take advantage of a short-handed team, the way so many other teams had done the same to us for the first half of the season.

As soon as we saw Columbus come out playing the counter attack game, it was obvious RSL would be in for a rough night trying to break through a defense who was intent on bunkering down. It clearly worked for them, as the Crew got out to the early lead and held RSL scoreless for the entire first half.

Columbus found a way to keep RSL at bay for the majority of the game, and they must have felt ecstatic about leaving Rio Tinto with a point.

I’ll say it again: No team is an easy win.

(Okay, maybe Colorado.)

What to do with Yura

As has been a hot topic of conversation over the last couple months, Yura Movsisyan’s future at RSL seems pretty up in the air. Mike Petke, without saying it in words, has made it clear that Luis Silva is the man to start at center forward, as Yura has spent most of his time on the bench for the last little while.

He had a couple decent chances during the underwhelming 12 minutes he played against Columbus, but one of them went rolling just wide past the post, and the other ended up being more of a whiff than anything.

While we all sit and speculate as to what’ll happen in the never-ending Yura saga, it’s become pretty obvious that Petke has found his starting attacking quartet in Silva/Plata/Savarino/Rusnak. These four have been absolutely dynamic and dangerous throughout the last few matches, and frankly, it’s left Movsisyan out in the cold, searching for a way to crack back into the starting lineup.