I was happy to see Henley pair up with Glad, but I would like to see how he does moving forward. Acosta and Phillips did well to connect with Plata on the left side, but I would like to see how Henley moves forward. The first 30 minutes looked okay, but I would watch for more build up out of the back. This is where we work best; this is how we break teams down. If we can get Henley to connect with Savarino and Lennon at the rate that Beltran did, we should be fine. Watch for his connection with Lennon this next match though, since Savarino is out at the moment. I will be watching to see how Henley connects with our midfielders and wingers. We are asking a lot from him, but he has been outspoken about his desire to contribute and in a sense, reinvent himself as a good player. I am interested in seeing how hard he works to make his presence known.
I was extremely happy to see Acosta play the way he did at CB. I know that we are three deep back there, and that’s great, but the more prepared we are to put guys into spots they don’t usually play, the better we will be. Acosta worked well with glad, and if they get paired in back again, I would like to see some of that USMNT chemistry come out in their communication. They are young, they wont be a pairing a la 2010’s Borchers and Olave, but they can definitely make a stamp on their careers with another season or two of good soccer, and who better to do that with than RSL? I’ll be watching to see how his partnership with Glad continues, how his 1v1 defense works, and if he plays left back again, how he helps start the attack from the back. This is his spot to lose.
Ortuño didn’t seem like the presence we all expected him to be, and there could be a lot of reasons for that. In a perfect world, we would see how our best 11 work with him going forward, but I also want to see if he can A) connect with some of our back up midfielders and wingers, and B) work to create his own chances. I know that there is a lot that can be said about the poaching-style that #9s often play, and we really need someone who can connect to the crosses our guys send in, so I’ll be watching for him to either connect on crosses or work his butt off to create his own chances from here on out.
I know that “Rufio” isn’t technically on RSL’s roster, but I was impressed by his play with the Monarchs last year, and I was pleased to see him reward Petke’s decision in bringing him into this portion of the camp. It will be nice to call on him in a pinch, and I would love to see how easily he gets back into an MLS competitive state of mind. We are okay at the midfield position, but this is a long season. Having someone of Velasquez’s stature to call up on the fly is essentially what the Monarchs was brought in for… Having competition 2-3 men deep at every position is a dream for any team. I will be watching how he does with the minutes he gets.
Beckerman was MASSIVE, which was not surprising at all. Father time seemingly forgot Kyle in his great plan, which is great for us. He was everywhere. He was such a huge presence, and (dare I say) he looked the best he has in years. I can’t wait to see what he can do this year, and I will be looking at how he works to the strengths of those around him. I loved his connection play with our center backs, wings, and attacking players, often sending the perfect switch to Plata or giving Glad an extra body. He was connecting will with Luke and Hernandez, and making it look easy. I will be watching how he works with these younger kids. I seriously can not wait for this season.