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What we’re watching in Real Salt Lake vs. D.C. United

RSL host bottom of the table D.C. United, but it isn’t a sure win for the home side 

MLS: Real Salt Lake at D.C. United Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

Real Salt Lake have had a tough start to the season, but it’s been far worst for D.C. United. The four time MLS Cup winners have only taken three points from a single match this season, with a 1-4-2 record totaling 5 points. RSL has shown moments of real strength, but haven’t been able to do this throughout most games.

Consistency

Real Salt Lake are at home, hosting the worst team in the league. This is a chance, and perhaps the right opportunity, for them to play a full 90 the way Mike Petke wants this team to play. They should control the game from start to close. My biggest take away from the Orlando game was mentality. The team struggled until Baird scored, but looked strong and commanding after than. At least until Orlando scored, then the whole game got away from RSL. This team can play beautifully, but confidence seems low. If they can control this game and win it, that may be a building block for future success.

Defensive line

Like snow melting from the Wasatch front, our players are slowly coming back from injury. In fact, out our starting 11 from the beginning of 2017, only half our backline is injured! But things have changed, and with the likes of Horst and M. Silva back, the defense is looking up. This week we might not be able to have one of the youngest backlines in MLS history, but is that really a good thing when you’re leaking buckets of goals?

Hard times create strong forwards, or something

Corey Baird has been perhaps the brightest silver lining for Real this season. The RSL academy product went to college at Stanford, had one game with the Monarchs (where he scored a goal), and has now has two goals and an assist for the first team. He’s fun to watch, too. He’s hardworking and creative, thus injecting a real energy into the attack. Keep an eye on him throughout the game. He’s still a young player and thus makes mistakes, but he also has the recklessness to try new things.

Injury list

OUT

Beltran (knee 10/15/17)

Allen (knee 6/16/17)

Barry (knee 3/10)

Phillips (ankle 4/7)

Horwath (achilles 4/18)

QUESTIONABLE

Mulholland (back 5/9)

Predicted line up

Rimando

Lennon, Glad, Besler, Henley

Beckerman, Kreilach

Plata, Rusnak, Savarino

Baird