Real Salt Lake’s second road game takes them to the District of Columbia to play D.C. United. DC haven’t conceded a goal this season, but are on the same number of points as RSL. In fact, United haven’t lost a league game since August 29, 2018 — which is an incredible feat. Can Real get a road result and improve their away form over last season?
Real Salt Lake’s 1-0 win over Vancouver Whitecaps had a lot of positives, but the only goal came from a questionable penalty call. It’s worth noting that the team has score just a single goal in open play in their two games this season. It’s still early, and the attacking core remains largely the same from 2018 (the second most goals in a RSL season), so we’re far away from hitting the panic button. But it is worth noting that the goals haven’t exactly been flowing, yet.
Sam Johnson has looked good in his two off-the-bench appearances for RSL. It’s time we see him get a start. The Liberian international has shown energy on the field but it’s difficult to see his full potential without getting a start. An ideal situation would be to see him start against DC and sub in either Baird or Bofo in the second half. Center forward has been the biggest question for the club in recent years, so we’ll want to watch this for a while.
RSL has yet to be defeated on the road this year. Granted, they’ve only had one game on the road, but let’s keep that going. Real struggled away from home in 2018 and if a few of those draws were wins, or losses were draws, the team would have been in a much better place in the standings. And they were capable of getting those results, but continually failed away from the RioT. RSL’s 2018 road form was one of the worst in the league, with a 3-11-3 record. Much of that is due to the team’s poor defense last season and so far, the backline looks much better with Brooks improving as a right back and Nedum seeing more time on the field. Can the club stick to their game plan and play well, even if they concede a goal? Or will we see a collapse if the team gives up a goal?
A change of strategy
Center back Nedum Onuoha stated that the team was taking a different approach to this game than they did last week. DC has been a solid team, in part because of how many home games they’ve had since Rooney came in, and RSL is likely to play more defensively. This will be a good test of how the back line can hold up. With Everton Luiz destroying in the midfield, will Real be able to weather the DC storm and even get a few goals in?
Allen (knee 6/16/17; Season Ending)
Glad (toe; 2/28/19)
Plata (ankle; 3/7/19)