With a total of 34 games in the regular season, RSL’s year now stands just shy of 25% done. In fact, halftime of this weekends game against the LA Galaxy will be the 1⁄4 mark for RSL’s regular season, how time flies! We are taking a minute to break down how things have gone, who has stood out, and what our current trajectory might hold as the season marches on.
First, how are things going and where are we headed?
With 3 home games played, RSL has gone 2-1-0 (W/L/D), meaning that of the 10 total points that the club has accumulated 60% of those points have come at home. This is despite the fact that home games only represent 37% of the schedule thus far. RSL is averaging 2 points per game at home which means that with 14 home games to go the club would pick up another 28 points at home through the remainder of the season. Hold onto that number for a minute.
With 5 away games played RSL has gone 1-3-1 (W/L/D), meaning that of the 10 total points that the club has accumulated only 4 points have come on the road. That’s an abysmal 0.8 points per game on the road. If that trend continues RSL will secure 9.6 points the remainder of the season while on the road. We’ll round up to 10 since ain’t nobody getting awarded half points around here.
With 28 points per game projected at home the remainder of the season and 10 on the road, plus the 10 points already secured, RSL would theoretically finish the season with a total of 48 points. In the MLS of old this wouldn’t be enough points to get them over the magic line of 50 points that would typically indicate if a team would make the playoffs. However, MLS has extended the playoff field this year which could end up saving RSL if things continue the way they are.
Also worth noting, is that RSL has 10 goals scored and 14 conceded for a goal differential of -4. The club’s home games constitute 5 of the 10 goals scored, while also allowing 5 of their 14 goals conceded. With home games constituting 37% of the schedule thus far, 50% of the clubs goals scored, and 36% of their goals conceded came in those home games.
Let’s also take a quick look at points per game for 2019 compared to 2018. Last year the club averaged 1.61 points per game compared to this year’s 1.25 ppg. As more home games are played we would hope for this to improve but as it stands we are pacing behind. When looking at home games in particular, RSL averaged 2.17 ppg in 2018 and for 2019 is averaging 2.00, a .17 drop. Away games has seen a marginal increase from 0.7 ppg in 2018 up to 0.8 in 2019. RSL only won 3 away games and drew 3 more last year in 17 tries. They have already won 1 away game and drawn another in 2019 so they are looking slightly improved on the road this year.
Second, who’s standing out?
Albert Rusnák is off to the early lead for the club’s golden boot race with 4 goals. On top of that he also has one assist which is strangely good enough for a first place tie with 4 other players. Not only is Albert scoring but the goals he is scoring really matter. Two of his four goals this year are game winners, which is worth noting because RSL has only won 3 games. Albert is currently bagging a goal or an assist every 124 minutes he plays which is also best on the team.
Also worth mentioning is Sam Johnson, the newly acquired DP striker. After a slow start to the season where Sam was injured or on international duty, he has now begun featuring as a regular starter and has made it count. He has only started in 2 games and in both instances netted himself a goal. That’s good enough for the second most goals on the team. What is even more impressive is that those 2 goals have come on only 6 total shots all year. So while we’d like to see his shot count start to climb, thus far he has been clinical when the opportunity presents itself. For context on the impressiveness of Sam’s finishing, Albert’s 4 goals have come on 17 shots, with 2 of those goals being PK’s.
Lastly, while his contributions won’t show up on the score sheet, Everton Luiz has been a revelation for the RSL midfield. He brings a bite and physicality that has wained over the years as Beckerman has entered the twilight of his career. Everton has quickly and adeptly adjusted to Major League Soccer and has done a masterful job pairing along side Beckerman, Rusnák and Kreilach over the first fourth of the season. We wish him a speedy recovery from injury as he will be a critical cog in the RSL machine if we are to make the playoffs or win any hardware.
We’ll check back in on June 30th, the the halfway point of the season, to see how our RSL Soapbox predictions are playing out.