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Points of Obvious Refinement: Real Salt Lake at Minnesota United FC

Coming off an away point, what can Real Salt Lake do to hold on to all three at home against LAFC?

Los Angeles FC v Real Salt Lake Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images

Missed Matches

Just like I missed writing this column after the home win against LA Galaxy and Corey Baird missed his flight to Minnesota; RSL are going to have to overcome a lot of people missing the match.

Rusnak is on international duty. Justen Glad is on suspension for yellow card accumulation. Giuseppe Rossi and Everton Luiz were “not medically cleared” to play in Saturday’s matchup with Los Angeles Football Club.

That is a lot of holes in an already stretched out roster. Fortunately, there are still a lot of players available that haven’t seen a lot of minutes this season due to late substitutions. It could create some very solid opportunities for players like Erik Holt and Sam Johnson if they can somehow find their way either into the starting XI or up for an early substitution.

Tranquillo Tiempo

The last couple games, including last weeks match against Minnesota United, there have been a lot of “red mist” moments from players all over the team. Missed calls turning into stomped ankles or hard shoulder barges. Sometimes leading to yellow cards, sometimes completely ignored by a referee that’s within 10 yards.

It is absolutely imperative that everyone on the team calm down and try to keep their noses clean as possible. It’s a long run into the playoffs and if the team wants to have an outside chance of making it through whatever the playoffs will look like, they will need to have as many players as possible.

I would encourage everyone on the team to listen to the song “Calm Down” by Taylor Swift, but that song actually doesn’t have a lot of chill and there may end up being a red card in the first five minutes.

Maybe try the entire album “The Palace Garden” by Beat Connection. That’s some pretty good calm down and cool out music.

Forward Foundation

In between all of the VAR nonsense in the Minnesota match, I noticed something that was kind of alarming.

The last twenty minutes of the match the defensive third was populated by the “forward” players. In a lot of cases, it was Sam Johnson coming back to break up Minnesota’s attack or at least make them work to put a shot on Andrew Putna.

While I appreciate that the team was trying to hold on to a point and everyone should be capable it doesn’t make sense to put a striker on the field to play defensive mid. Especially when you have a goalkeeper with the ability to kick the ball so far that the commentators can’t stop talking about it.

Doesn’t do any good to boot the ball 70+ yards if one of your fastest forward players is at the top of the 18-yard box when that ball goes into near-orbit.