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The Salt: Playoff soccer, lineup thoughts and pushing back the offseason

Maybe it really was a good luck duck after all.

MLS: Los Angeles Galaxy at Real Salt Lake Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

Oh, I didn’t see you there.

Hello! I thought I’d be writing today about how it’s a shame we didn’t make the playoffs. Instead, I’m not. Alright.

Last week, I wrote about Mike Petke’s substitution patterns and game management. I stand by those comments, but I actually think those things matter slightly less in the playoffs. Game management is still of real importance, of course, but a lot can happen when player motivation is at its highest.

Anyway, this isn’t going to be another 2,000-word piece, so let’s just go get it.

Mauro Manotas is a Real Salt Lake hero

Miracle in LA

So, yesterday, I was watching the match and trust me, 2-0 down in the 30th minute, I was resigned. We were done for. The playoffs were a non-starter.

Everything changed when the Fire Nation attacked.

Er, Houston Dynamo. You get the idea. Anyway, they won, and as a result, we’re in the playoffs. It was truly a collapse from the Galaxy, which I just loved so much. Watching Zlatan Ibrahimovic pouting made me very happy, and you can call me a petty person if you want. I don’t mind. Really.

Who plays for RSL against LAFC?

This is my big question of the day. Here’s a lineup I think we could see.

Lennon, M. Silva, Glad, Herrera
Beckerman, Sunny
Savarino, Rusnak, Plata

And that’s basically Mike Petke’s best-case starting lineup at this point. Now, is that what we should be doing? I don’t know. I might think about the combination of Nedum Onuoha and Marcelo Silva, as it was one of our better combinations this year, but at the same time, so was Nick Besler and Justen Glad.

I’m not convinced we’ll see much in the way of change from Petke, so I’m predicting it’ll be what we’ve seen the last few weeks. Of course, he’s also a little unpredictable sometimes, and I know he’s thinking about things in ways that we are not, so really, it’s just a mystery for now.

Expect more coverage from us specifically about how we might line up, but this is kind of my thinking right now.

Revenge is a dish best served cold

It looks like Thursday is going to be a nice day in Los Angeles, which doesn’t at all support my heading. But what we do need to do is to be cold ourselves, which — well, that doesn’t sound like much, but bear with me here.

What we need is to be calm and collected. We can’t come out seeking revenge, because if we do, Carlos Vela will chip Nick Rimando when we leave him unmarked on a counterattack, and nobody wants that.

If we’re going in with hot heads and rage fueling us, I think we’re in trouble. Our tactical approach will suffer if we’re not organized, because, well, they’re better than we are. If we can’t recognize that fact and plan accordingly, we don’t stand a chance.

Hold the offseason, please

As a producer of Real Salt Lake-focused content (and Utah Royals content! Don’t forget about the Royals!) I was getting ready to start planning our offseason coverage in earnest.

That’s on hold now — at least for another four days. I’m hoping it’s another month and a half, but we’ll see on Wednesday. Or Thursday. I bet MLS gives us the earlier game, because people are less likely to watch it. It is against LAFC, and I guess people watch them for some reason, but I’m hoping they just tune in to see a Claret and Cobalt victory. (Or just claret. Or red. Really, just red.)


I don’t have anything today, given I wrote on Friday. I had Vietnamese food on Saturday, and I am going to eat a buuunch of chocolate this week.

I’d like to talk again with you all later in the week, when we can break down the results of our first playoff game under Mike Petke.