Real Salt Lake are coming off a loss in Montreal and Red Bull Arena isn’t an easy place to find points. The New York Red Bulls have three wins and a draw in their last four games. They had a rough start to the season after having won the Supporters Shield in 2018, but they’ve rediscovered some of their old form. RSL had been playing well, but a much changed lineup against the Impact set them back. Can Real find points in New York?
The lineup in this game will be absolutely crucial. There was a good deal of change from the Atlanta game to the Montreal match. Ultimately it weakened the team, but that’s part of the business with a more compact schedule this season.
RSL will likely return to a full strength lineup for this game. The Red Bulls are the tougher of the two teams Real have faced this week, and head coach Mike Petke is more likely to want a good result over his former club. But there are a few issues.
Firstly, Damir Kreilach is out with a yellow card suspension for this game. This a massive loss as Damir has started every game this season. He’s also taken up the captain’s armband while Beckerman has been recovering from injury. If Beckerman is healthy enough, he may slot in. If not, we’re likely to see Everton and Besler in the midfield.
The next question of health is that of Albert Rusnak. He came off early and has been listed as “probable” on this week’s injury report. General Manager Craig Waible said on Thursday, “He was up and about today...nothing too bad.” If Rusnak can’t play, that changes the attack significantly. Without him or Krielach, it’s not entirely clear who plays the number 10 role. Savarino is a possibility, but it will be a new look in the attack if Albert is absent.
Controlling the game
In Real’s win over Atlanta, they had 49.8% of possession throughout that game. That’s huge given how much ATL like to have the ball. It was a game where RSL was able to get 15 shots off. In Montreal, RSL’s shots dropped to 8 but they had 56.8% of possession. Their possession wasn’t often in the Impact’s attacking third, and that’s something that will need to change if they’re to get a result against RBNY. Watch to see how they play the ball through the wings and (hopefully) Rusnak. Can those players maintain possession and still do things like play Johnson through the Red Bull’s back line?
Allen (knee 6/16/17; Season Ending)
Beltran (knee 3/15/19)
Beckerman( hamstring 5/2/19)
Rusnak (ankle 5/29/19)