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What we’re watching in Real Salt Lake vs. Portland Timbers

RSL host PTFC as both teams are desperate to get the needed points to stay above the playoff line

Plata and Rusnak plot the destruction of their foes.
Lucas Muller | RSL Soapbox

It’s that time of year; the air is crisp, the leaves are brilliant orange, red, and yellows, and it’s full on panic for Real Salt Lake fans. With one false move, LA Galaxy could overtake RSL. Two out of the last three games for RSL come against western conference opponents Portland Timbers. The normal “six point swing” is therefore doubled, so a home win becomes even more important in tonight’s match.

Shots

In their last match, RSL was outshot 20 to 8 by Sporting Kansas City. That is far too few shots if Real want to be successful in the attack. While Kreilach came out for Rusnak in the 61st minute, Damir only had one shot and Rusnak had none. SKC’s defense did a good job of shutting down the attack, which highlights RSL’s lack of a true center forward and the weakened attack when Rusnak doesn’t start. Per the injury report, Real should have all their attacking tools at Mike Petke’s disposal. Can this attack get those crucial goals and critical points?

Substitutions

Petke’s substitution patterns have been a source of criticism of late. It’s frustrating that subs come so late or that not all three available substitutions are used. Ideally, we’d see a few attackers, such as Bofo or Baird, come in and run themselves, and hopefully PTFC’s defense, into the ground. Pay attention to the times and number of subs used.

Reaction

The weight of this game is inescapable. While the last home game, against the Revolution, will be important, the point swing against Portland could very easily be the difference between playoffs and some extra allocation money. Whatever happens, be sure to catch the post game to see the mindset of the players and head coach as the head into the final two games of the regular season. It’s a bit frustrating that RSL is so close to the playoff line again and we need to see fight from the team until the very end.

Injury Report

OUT:

Beltran (knee 10/15/17)

Allen (knee 6/16/17)

Horwath (achilles 4/18)

Horst (achilles 6/26)

QUESTIONABLE:

Phillips (hamstring 9/10/18)

Marcelo Silva (left adductor 9/22/18)

Predicted Line Up

Rimando

Lennon, Glad, Onuoha, Herrera

Beckerman, Sunny

Savarino, Rusnak, Plata

Kreilach