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What we’re watching in FC Cincinnati vs. Real Salt Lake

RSL heads to Cincinnati to take on the MLS newcomers

Real Salt Lake hit the road after a successful home game last weekend. They take on MLS newcomers FC Cincinnati. FCC have scored 8 goals this season, all from different players, and they sit in 7th in the east on 8 points with a 2-3-2 record. RSL has 2 wins, 4 losses, and 1 draw. It feels as though the teams are close, but with Real having exorcised some demons, can they find success away from home?

Everton-less

Midfielder Everton Luiz will miss this match with injury. It’s been reported that the Brazilian has an MCL injury. General Manager Craig Waibel said the player would likely be out 2-6 weeks.

Everton has been the most impactful new player this season. He’s done a fantastic job of controlling and destroying in the midfield. His speed has paired well with Kyle Beckerman, and the two look dangerous when playing together. With Everton out, likely for multiple games, what does that do to RSL’s midfield? We’ll see Nick Belser step in, that’s almost guaranteed. Besler came in when Everton when down in the first half against Orlando City last Saturday, and he did a good job.

Another issue is Captain Kyle Beckerman has four yellow cards. One more and he’ll have to miss a game. That’s likely to happen, and that’s also cause for concern.

Does Beckerman play more conservatively because of yellow card accumulation or does he need to step up and bring some of Everton’s toughness to the game> How does Belser look in a midfield role?

Johnson

Sam Johnson, Real Salt Lake goal scorer — it has a nice ring to it. Can the 25 year old DP get his second goal in this game? The team’s road form hasn’t improved in regards to points this season, but the fight has been better. Johnson, who received his first RSL start in Seattle, has shown he’s a dangerous attacker.

With a rotating cast in the attack, can Sam and the players around him gel? Building relationships and understanding is huge on the field. As time goes, are we seeing that more understanding between players? In his goal against Orlando, it’s certainly an impressive effort from Johnson, but Rusnak makes such a smart pass to make that all possible. And before Rusnak’s pass, Kreilach plays a free kick quick. It’s good understanding all around. Watch for more of that.

Backline

Toia, Glad, Onuoha, and Herrera did well last weekend. The only goal the opposition team scored was a phenomenal free kick from Nani, who probably should not have been allowed to play at all. The last 15-20 of that game, Orlando was pressing hard and they weathered the storm. My number one question around defense is if we’ll see Lennon as a right back again. He’s a gifted player, but he’s not a defender. Will Petke reward the backline performance from last weekend with a start in Ohio? Injury Report

Injury Report

OUT:

Allen (knee 6/16/17)

Holt (ankle; 3/30/19)

Luiz (knee; 4/13/19)

DOUBTFUL:

Mulholland (back; 4/2/19)

Silva (hamstring; 4/6/19)

Predicted Lineup