Let it be known, I am a magician and a psychic of unimaginable proportion.
I called this the day before the game and I was so close. I had a feeling we would have to fight hard for a win but I felt a win was due. We’ve had so much chemistry up front that we had to score goals but we’ve still be so fragile in areas of the back line that we couldn’t keep a clean sheet. DC are fast on the wings and can punish you if you’re not tight so this had the potential to go wrong for us but thankfully we managed to absorb the pressure DC put on us until the 22nd minute when DC went down a man for a dangerous foul on Savarino. After that, Real Salt Lake took more control of the game and only looked weak in that one problem area we have. Winning at home against a team down a man does leave a question mark next to us about how we may have coped against DC at full strength but a win is a win and those points have been hard earned not just against DC but for the last few weeks too.
However, we still need to do better in some areas. Time to magic up three things to do better!
I had a conversation with a friend of mine about football in general over the weekend and we discussed areas of weakness and how to deal with tactical issues without upsetting the balance you’ve developed which is why I’m putting this as wide defending rather than full backs. With the right and left back roles pushing up to attack, the central players push out to stop wide play. That means somebody needs to come back to fill the hole that leaves in the middle which I can’t say is happening as often as we need it to. We’re constantly caught a man down or losing a runner in the middle of the park and teams are getting smart to it. In the last three games we’ve played, we’ve faced 55 offensive crosses against us, not including attempts that we’re actually blocked keep in mind. We have to do something to stop this flow into the box but if we can’t stop them then we need to get better at handling them because in the last three games, we’ve conceded a goal in each from a cross.
The other type of goal we’ve given up in the last three games comes from a set piece. Now, one is a PK so that’s not me being fair but two games in a row now we’ve give up a goal from a corner and both times our organisation was laughably bad with DC having all the time in the world to open the scoring. We need to make it easier on ourselves by keeping tight and focusing on set pieces as it’s easy to leak goals to set play and teams get no better chance to score frequently with well drilled set plays.
This is the first time this season I’ve come to do this and had less than three things to do better which is a vast improvement from my notebook last season. I keep this one in my back pocket as it’s the thing every team wants to do but RSL has to stay consistent. We played very well against DC but we should know by now that we can go back to chasing a lead by next week. The team has to take this win for what it was, a win against a team down a man away from home. Don’t think that because Baird is scoring for fun and Rusnak is finally starting to come good that we’ve done anything other than hit the level we should have started the season with. Just keep focused on three more points.
There’s a lot more to be happy about for Real Salt Lake at the moment and I think watching Corey Baird break out at the start of this season has been great for us. I watched the post game comments from him and he seemed really humble and hard working which I’m sure helps keep his hype train under control as everyone is falling over themselves to say how great he is. Including me. Because he is so great. I bet he smells tremendous. I also wouldn’t be shocked if he was in the running for rookie of the year should he continue in this kind of form. That’s my latest prediction and as we all know, I’m a wizard now.