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Three things to do better after a road loss to Montreal

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What do we need to learn after taking a dent in our playoff hopes?

MLS: Real Salt Lake at D.C. United Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

You know, I’ve been enjoying some of Real Salt Lake’s new stuff. Luis Silva has upped his game as a front man, Savarino and Plata have been great on the strings, Petke has certainly been adding some base, and Beckerman is providing a solid rhythm. However, sometimes you just want to hear the classics and that’s what we got tonight I think. Chart topping hits like “How did that not go in?”, “How did they find space?” and “What’s Rimando doing that for!!!”.

It was hard watching that game after doing so well recently but it’s something of a reminder of who we are. We’re a team capable to amazing play but also of mistakes. We’re young and hungry but still raw and unknown. We have to learn to work together, but we also have to learn who we are. We are the Sandra Bullock of MLS.

No, you watched Miss Congeniality while you had a bad back this week...


Defensive Positioning

This week, for me at least, can be summed up with this. Montreal played some great football this week and it was typified with tremendous hold up play from Jackson-Hamel who not only kept the ball on the first two goals but managed to get on the score sheet as well. He managed to pull the RSL defence out of position time and time again and that allowed a slew of Impact attackers to punish RSL again and again.

For RSL, we found ourselves chasing the ball a few times and leaving a lot of space open. It’s hard to actually criticise anybody individually really because everybody made the same mistakes. You can see specifically on the second goal how everybody closes in on Jackson-Hamel and it leaves Piatti wide open to charge in and slot the ball home.

You don’t need three guys closing somebody down who has his back to the goal. He isn’t going to get a shot off with Glad and Silva crowding him like that so he has to look to lay it off to somebody else and it’s down to wide players and deep lying midfielders to cut that space off. We didn’t and we got punished, ironically by the one thing we were lacking in the Jeff Cassar area, hold up play.

Late Game Heroics

Say what you want, but RSL will have one hell of a highlight real in terms of heroic defending this year. Justen Glad joins the likes of Schuler, Schmidt and the recently departed Aaron Maund as a player who managed to save a certain goal with a desperation play. I honestly feared the worst when he hit his leg on the post and it’s this kind of thing that will kill us. Players having to push themselves to this length to clean up mistakes of others just can’t keep happening.

Shockingly, Nick Rimando has made quite a few errors this year which has raised questions about his long term successor. After losing Jeff Attinella this year, Matt VanOekel, Lalo Fernandez and Connor Sparrow have all been touted or tested as a replacement. This is one of the most interesting post season stories for me and I am intrigued as to how it will turn out after things like this.

Goals

Luis Silva scored a fantastic goal tonight and seems to have found his confidence in front of goal which is only good for RSL. It would be hard to underestimate how difficult it was to score that goal from a tight angle, so he deserves so much credit for that. Which is why I don’t understand how he was unable to convert the other, easier chances he was afforded! His volley against the post should have been nestling in the back of the net and so we have to wonder what would have happened, how would the game have turned if we’d made the most of that chance. We’ve done a lot better recently with goals and we just need to push on and improve on that front. Silva is becoming a serviceable MLS forward but if he wants to retain that place, which I am sure he does, he needs to keep working on his finishing.


The previously mentioned bad back is why there was no coverage from last week. That and the fact that the game was played over what seemed like 12 days. It was such an odd thing to see that from my perspective as we just don’t get that over here in the UK. We’re winding the season down now and I think I’m more excited about the end of this season than I was the last simply because I have more faith in Mike Petke to be able to put a championship calibre team together. He’s gotten the best out of who we have now and hopefully will shift some pieces on the board to grab some strength where we need it.