Real Salt Lake’s preseason is in full swing. The team traveled down to Tucson, Arizona this past Wednesday and has been training hard.
RSL coach Mike Petke stated that this is one of the few times in his 20 years around the league that he’s seen a team come back for preseason already fit. This has allowed them to move right into drills and tactics rather than the bulk of their time being spent on conditioning. If you haven’t already, keep an eye on the team’s twitter account for some great short videos looking at what they’ve been doing.
A first look at new signings
Since the end of the 2017 season, RSL have signed:
- Corey Baird – forward
- Shawn Barry – center back
- Adam Henley – right back
- Aaron Herrera – right back
- Alex Horwath – goalkeeper
- Ricky Lopez-Espin – forward
- Alfredo Ortuno – forward
- Taylor Peay – center back
- Pablo Ruiz – midfielder
That’s a lot of new faces. Not all of these guys will be starters, but it’s a pretty safe bet to say that Ortuno and Henley will get the nod. This is a chance to see the new guys in action before the season starts. Part of the fun of these preseason matches is there are unlimited substitutions so everyone gets minutes.
Kyle Beckerman and Nick Rimando re-signed. Brooks Lennon was signed after a loan from Liverpool. Plata never left as so many thought he would once Petke took over. We get to see Rusnak again. Glad and Acosta in defense. In shorty, we get to watch Real Salt Lake play. There have been a lot of movement since the season ended, but most of the fan favorites are still here and this is one of our first chances to see them get a run-out on the field.
A look at a bitter rival
Historically, LA Galaxy has not been loved by RSL. They’ve sent us out of the playoffs a time or two, and we’ve beaten them in the MLS Cup Final. Our captain showed he can do a spot-on Robbie Keane impression.
LA has made some moves this offseason, and rumor is there are more to come. The west looks to be getting better as a whole, so any information we can get on a team that will be fighting for a playoff stop is good intel to have. This is RSL’s first measuring stick for how our recent moves stack up against another team.
Mike Petke’s first preseason
Petke took over a struggling RSL shortly after the start of the 2017 season. A lot of people wondered what the beginning of that year would have looked like had Mike had more time to calibrate the team to his vision. We get that this year. The coaching style of Mike Petke is quite different than that of Jeff Cassar, and we see how those differing approaches take shape.
We should see experimentation with lineups and formations. Look at this game through Petke’s eyes. He’ll be watching for what works, which players fit where, all of which will point to how he’ll want RSL to line up in Dallas on March 3rd.