Guys, I am about to give you the best news you’ve heard all week. Real Salt Lake plays tomorrow! Yes, it is a preseason game, so it doesn’t have any competitive meaning, but for all of us soccer junkies it doesn’t really matter. Soccer is soccer, and anytime RSL is playing soccer we are going to get excited about it.
We have signed several new players this preseason, and this preseason game will give us our first opportunity to see many of them in action for the club. I expect to see many different players on the field for RSL tomorrow, and I am excited to see exactly what our new players bring to the side.
Tomorrow at 3:30 p.m., RSL will take on LA Galaxy in their first preseason match of 2018, as part of the 2018 Mobile Mini Sun Cup being hosted in Tucson, Arizona. This will be the first of 4 preseason games that the Claret and Cobalt will play this preseason, and it will give us our first opportunity to catch a glimpse of what Mike Petke and Co. have up their sleeves for this year.
Real Salt Lake
RSL comes into 2018 looking to continue to replicate and build upon the form that they discovered towards the end of the 2017 season. The core of the team remains the same, as we welcomed back RSL legends Kyle Beckerman and Nick Rimando with new contracts and secured the continued services of players like Jefferson Savarino and Brooks Lennon permanently.
The only consistent starter from last year’s team that came so close to turning around a disastrous first half of the season to make the playoffs is Tony Beltran, who is still recovering from the severe knee injury he suffered near the end of the season (Get better soon, Tony!). We have also welcomed several new players to the team this year, including homegrown players Aaron Herrera and Corey Baird, and American-born, European trained players Adam Henley and Shawn Barry, among others.
Expect to see the same attacking 4-3-3/4-2-3-1 formation from Petke’s men that we saw last year, with minutes being given to a multitude of different players as Petke tinkers with player combinations and tactical ideas. There are unlimited substitutions in preseason matches, so expect to see a lot of different players on the field tomorrow night.
The Galaxy are coming into 2018 looking to build upon a terrible year last year and climb their way out of the MLS cellar, where they finished the 2017 season as the worst team in the league. LA manager Sigi Schmid has made significant changes to the Galaxy roster, most notably sending USMNT forward Gyasi Zardes to Columbus Crew in exchange for proven MLS goalscorer Ola Kamara and reconstructing their back line with various international signings.
In this first preseason game, I would expect that Schmid is going to want to begin cementing a back line that will work together defensively to help the Galaxy improve. Also be sure to keep an eye out for Mexican international brothers Jonathan and Giovanni Dos Santos, who are both going to be looking to be in their best form in preparation for selection to Mexico’s 2018 World Cup squad.
This matchup tomorrow night will provide fans of both teams a look at what they might be able to expect for the 2018 season. I expect to see exciting, attacking soccer from RSL, while I think they Galaxy will focus on finding their defensive rhythm before trying to break out into the attack. The clock is ticking, and soccer will be back before we know it!