An hour before kickoff on Saturday, RSL released their starting 11 for their match against LAFC, starting an MLS record 6 homegrown players in the game. A lot of decisions in regards to who was to play were forced by international absences, red card suspensions, and injuries. Regardless, RSL started a young and mostly inexperienced lineup against a strong LAFC team, with few expecting anything positive to come from the match. And despite all of these things, RSL still had a chance to come away with a positive result going into second half stoppage time down a man.
So what can the team, and the fans, take away from this match? Here’s a few of my thoughts:
- RSL has quality depth this year. Brian Dunseth has talked a lot this year about the depth this RSL team has as well as the quality and potential of a lot of the younger, inexperienced players. This game showed us that. We had two homegrown players, Erik Holt and Tate Schmitt, make their MLS debuts by starting in this game. We had another homegrown player, Luis Arriaga, make his MLS debut coming on as a second half substitute. All in all, RSL has 12 homegrown players on their roster, and rights to 13 (Danny Acosta is on loan to Orlando City SC for this year). You could potentially make a competitive starting 11 for RSL completely out of homegrown players. How many other teams in the league can say that?
- These young homegrown players brought energy and zeal to a game that needed it badly. I completely understand that the team has players who should be on the field when they are available to play for the team. At the same time, I think some players can become complacent in their starting positions and may not show the same level of energy and zeal as a player that comes in and wants to make the most of their opportunity. Competition within the team itself is vital to team success, and I believe we’ve learned from this game that intra-team competition for starting and substitute roles is alive and well in this year’s squad.
- Despite ultimately taking a loss, RSL played very well and had opportunities to earn a draw or even a win. Sometimes, things don’t go your way despite a positive performance. I believe this was the case in the game against LAFC. I also believe on a different day, RSL earns a draw or even a win against them with this same lineup. That shows to me that the team is working well together, and is being prepared well by the coaching staff prior to the game.
- Offside will never be understood. By anyone. Ever again.
- Everton is going to lead MLS in yellow cards this year. I’m loving it.
- RSL is going to lead MLS in red cards this year.
- RSL is going to win the US Open Cup this year due to their depth.
What did you take from Saturday’s game? Let us know in the comments!