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Points of Obvious Refinement: Real Salt Lake vs Portland Timbers

A strong first half and a passable second half gave the team a much needed three points, but how can they do the same against FC Dallas?

Lucas Muller | RSL Soapbox

In an uncharacteristic move on my part, I want to start this post by saying “Hello and Welcome” in honor of the late Daryl Grove who lost his battle with cancer last night. Daryl is an important part of why I chose to pursue involvement in soccer at any level. I can’t really put into words how hard this has hit me, but here I am trying to and trying to continue to contribute to soccer in the US in every way possible.

Rest in Power Daryl.

Anyways, advancing as an alliteration.

Kingpin Kreilach

Let’s face it, Kreilach has been a gift to Real Salt Lake on almost every level. He’s managed to consistently been involved in every big moment this club has had for the last few years.

However, the team needs to figure out how to work without him. The week off will help to put fresh legs on the field to add more options, but that may not be enough. There needs to be more attacking players making themselves an option and capitalizing on those options. I would prefer to see that be a striker of some description other than a midfielder. Now that Douglas Martinez has “officially” opened his account with the team I would hope that he can step up to the plate and be that option.

There’s also Pablo Ruiz and Aaron Herrera that seem to really, really want a goal. With only two home games left on the calendar it would be nice to see either (or both) get one.

Maximum Momentum

Against Portland, the team seemed to completely lose steam at the half. I don’t think the substitutions that the Timbers made at the half were really enough to break the team, the team just kind of lifted their foot off the gas. FC Dallas has, historically, been a 90 minute team and Real Salt Lake will need to be able to hold on for the full 90 minutes in order to have a chance at a much needed three points.

It might be a radical idea, but some early substitutions my help along in the process.

Sunsetting Season

There are only a couple of games left in the season.

Real Salt Lake is currently out of the playoff spots.

There are 12 points left on the table and that is more than enough to swing way up the table if all of the starts align. It is now entirely on the team to decide how the season ends and with each passing game that outcome will become more and more apparent. I’m hoping that the team will either embrace the urgency if the playoffs are the goal or treat this as preparation for 2021 otherwise.

Either way, Real Salt Lake needs to maximize these last four games. I would hope that they choose to try and go out fighting, but if we see some fresh players receive some actual, competitive MLS minutes before 2021 I think I’ll be okay with that.