It’s the second home game in a row for Real Salt Lake. After last weekends 4-0 lashing over Philadelphia Union, they host a surprisingly good Minnesota United FC.
Taking advantage of mistakes
Three of the four RSL goals against the Union came from Real applying pressure and taking advantage of defensive mistakes. Going back and rewatching those goals, Philly should have done better, but to RSL’s credit, they did not waste chances. Being able to find those brief moments to score was the difference maker last weekend, and it could be tonight as well. After dropping a point on the road to San Jose because of a lapse in concentration, RSL did a fantastic job to turn those tables on Philadelphia. Can they do that against Minnesota? The key is to pressure, so watch how RSL is fighting for challenges and keeping their opponent pinned back.
Defensive injuries seem to be a hallmark of this team. Aaron Herrera has had an incredible season, and provided fantastic assists in RSL’s last two home games. However, the right back is not one to shy away from challenges, and thusly he’s on yellow card suspension for accumulating five yellows. Brooks Lennon is sure to start in at right back, but Donny Toia is listed as probable on the injury report. That leaves the options for outside backs very thin. We could see the return of Tony Beltran, but that would likely mean he slots onto the left side. I think it more likely we see Toia start, but this could very well be a game where Beltran sees minutes.
RSL has been averaging around the mid 300s in completed passes in their last few games prior to the win over Philly, which was 435 passes and 79% passing accuracy. That’s a decent improvement and much of that success is due to Everton, Damir, and Albert. Playing the ball more through the middle, where some of the team’s most talented players are positioned, will help complete passes. We’ve seen some real success in going up the wings, and with players like Bofo and Jefferson, it’s not a bad option, but watch to see more involvement from the midfield. There have been times this season where the team is shy to keep the ball in the middle, but if Rusnak can control more of the play, that provides an ever -present danger to opposition defenses.
Allen (knee 6/16/17; Season Ending)
Onuoha (adductor; 7/3/19)
Johnson (quad; 7/3/19)
Aaron Herrera is suspended on yellow card accumulation.