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What we’re watching in Columbus Crew vs. Real Salt Lake

RSL heads to Ohio to take on the Columbus Crew

MLS: Columbus Crew SC at Real Salt Lake Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

Real Salt Lake travels to Columbus, Ohio to take on the Crew. One has to wonder if this will be the last time RSL travels to Columbus, and while we certainly hope not, we do hope they leave with three points. The Crew are fourth in the east (RSL is fourth in the west), but haven’t had a win in five games.

Converting chances

As we saw against San Jose, RSL didn’t struggle to create chances, but converted only one of them. Real had 27 shots, 8 of which were on target. It might be as simple as working on finishing, something I’m sure Mike Petke will emphasis in practice this week. Perhaps the front four need a shake up. I’ve been wanting to see Kreilach pushed up to the ten, and Rusnak either at the nine or wing. I doubt this will happen, but it’d be a fun experiment. Plata should be healthy, so we’re likely to see him return to the left wing. This likely means we see Baird or L. Silva up top. With the rumors of Luis being sold, this could be a good opportunity for him to show his worth.

Kyle and Damir

There’s been a lot said in regards to the midfield partnership between Beckerman and Kreilach. Some of it fair, and while I do want to see Kreilach get another runout in a more attacking role, look to see if that criticism of how they pair is valid. Both are smart players and Kyle is undoubtedly the leader of the team. Does this partnership make sense? Are we getting the best from them together? Are they the best players on the squad for those positions?

Saving the Crew

Keeping the Crew in Columbus has been the main talking point around this team this season. And rightly so. The ideal that clubs can be torn away from communities is abhorrent in world football, but a common practice in American sports. RSL fans such as Isaac Thatcher and Jordan Rosser have done a great job of championing the Save the Crew moment. Isaac is often seen sporting a Save the Crew scarf at RSL games and both gents have traveled to Columbus for this game. Soapbox writer Wirtjo Leonard put together a community piece to stand in solidarity with the Crew. As a small market team, it’s clear the RSL faithful feel the need for clubs remain at their homes.

I’m curious to see the environment at this game and how a fanbase who is working to save their club comes across from the broadcast.

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)

Mulholland (back 5/2)

Horst (achilles 6/26)

Predicted Line Up

Rimando

Lennon, Glad, M.Silva, Acosta

Beckerman, Kreilach

Savarino, Rusnak, Plata

Baird