Real Salt Lake host Canadian side Montreal Impact in a rare doubleheader game day for Rio Tinto Stadium. Utah Royals FC play Seattle Reign earlier in the day for this Salt Lake double-feature. The Impact haven’t had a win since July 14th but are in 5th place in the eastern conference. They have the worst goal differential for any team above the playoff line. Will RSL’s home field advantage help them to edge out the Impact?
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In the not too distant past, RSL head coach Mike Petke was given a two game ban and handed a fine for some actions and comments he made in regards to some refereeing decisions. The last game he was ban for was the match against Colorado Rapids. Some undisclosed action happened during that game that caused the league to issue another fine.
There’s little doubt that there won’t be some kind of reaction during this game. Most likely, look for the post match press conference to see what Petke has to say about it. It will be interesting to see if this contributes to tension between the RSL staff and the PRO Referees. The RSL faithful have been quick to rush to support Petke in the past, and may do so again this week.
The transfer window came and went with no reinforcements arriving for RSL. The team did unload Ortuno, which was an important move, but since he didn’t live up to the role he was brought in to fill, there remains a gap in the attack. Kreilach and Plata are both on 6 goals this season, while Rusnak, Baird, and Silva all have 5. Now that the window is closed, the question becomes is this attack strong enough to be a serious contender in MLS? Is RSL a playoff team without bringing in a new center forward? Silva came off the injury list this week, so it’s unlikely that he starts, but look for who steps up.
Albert Rusnak is probably the best player on the team, but he’s felt less involved in the play lately. The midfield situation has been a little weird; Kreilach coming into his own, Beckerman slowing down (but still as smart as ever), and Rusnak is less of the go to guy. I’m not saying Albert doesn’t contribute, because he does in significant ways, but the last few games it seems he’s been superseded by Damir as the driving force. Rather than running all play through Rusnak, as the team has done in the past, the wings have been stepping it up in a big way. For me, I’ll be watching Rusnak closely. I want to see if he’s less effective or simply adjusting a a developing squad and therefore preforming different duties.
Beltran (knee 10/15/17)
Allen (knee 6/16/17)
Horwath (achilles 4/18)
Mulholland (back 5/2)
Lopez-Espin (knee 6/13)
Horst (achilles 6/26)
Sparrow (knee 7/2)
Lennon, Glad, M.Silva, Herrera
Savarino, Rusnak, Plata