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What we’re watching in Orlando City SC vs. Real Salt Lake

Real Salt Lake travel to the Sunshine State to take on Jason Kreis’ Orlando City

MLS: Orlando City SC at Real Salt Lake Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Real Salt Lake have yo-yoed this season: draw, loss, win, loss, win, loss, win, loss. The team is eight games into the season and only have 10 points to show for it. It’s not an ideal situation. Orlando has a 5-2-1 record, 18 points, and sit in third in the eastern conference.

Gelling attack

There are some games when the attack doesn’t have any kind of spark, and others where it feels very much alive. Some of this is due to the inconsistent lineup. Injuries abound, so Plata and Luis Silva have both missed games. Ortuño seems to have fallen off the map. Baird brings good energy, but recently we haven’t seen the same level of productivity that he displayed in his first few games. The team might just be in limbo until they have a new center forward, but if Plata, Baird, and Savarino can start to understand one another, the team will be more of a threat. That comes with time, but it would be nice to have on the right now side of time.

The outside backs

Brooks Lennon and Pablo Ruiz are both exciting young players, but neither are defenders. Lennon, who has seen far more minutes than Ruiz, has not been particularly solid in defense. Both are strong in contributing to the attack, but that’s not all we need from this position. The real question is why aren’t Acosta and Henley starting. They’re both healthy and the common assumption was that they would be the starters in their positions. But here we are: 8 games in and having conceded 16 goals. Whomever starts in the outside back spots, watch to see how they shutdown the attack, because this is a huge need.

Mike

Petke is always direct. He’s expressive on the sideline and shoots straight in interviews. If the team does lose, we need to start hearing meaningful reasons from him. If they win, we need to hear how we can build on that success consistently. Be sure to stick around for whatever post match coverage is available in Orlando and hopefully that will provide some real answers.

RSL Injury Report

Out

Beltran (knee 10/15/17)

Allen (knee 6/16/17)

Barry (knee 3/10)

Phillips (ankle 4/7)

Horwath (achilles 4/18)

Questionable

Peay (knee 1/22)

M. Silva (groin 4/7)

Horst (knee 4/11)

L. Silva (ankle 4/21)

Predicted Lineup

Rimando

Henley, Glad, Besler, Acosta

Beckerman, Kreilach

Plata, Rusnak, Savarino

Baird