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What we’re watching in RSL vs. LAFC

It’s been less than a month since we last saw these folks at our place.

MLS: Seattle Sounders FC at Real Salt Lake Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been less than a month since Real Salt Lake had LAFC over, and thanks to the absolutely weird and dangerous world we live in, they’re back for another go at it.

Last time we won 3-0, a treat of a match sandwiched between an incredibly poor road loss in Minnesota (4-0!) and our worst-ever home loss. It was a weird ray of sun that we probably needed.

Repeating the 3-0

Goals in that match came from Damir Kreilach, who escaped marking and headed home for the opener. Justin Meram poked home a loose ball in the box. Albert Rusnak scored a penalty.

It might be nice to think about repeating that performance, but in all honesty, it was a bit fluky. A free header in the box? Their defense will certainly be more aware tonight. Chaos in the box? Certainly not something you can plan on every match. A penalty taken by Albert Rusnak? Not going to happen. (Besides, it was a bit of a lucky handball. You can’t plan for those.)

Can RSL repeat that effort? Sure. The effort isn’t the issue. They’ll need a bit of luck on their side.

Replacing Albert Rusnak

It is an oddity of 2020 that Albert Rusnak will miss six matches with international duty, and we will need to figure out what our lineup looks like without him.

I still don’t have a real answer on that (we might get more tonight, of course), so we’ll have to be patient, I suppose. The thing to watch, then, will simply be to see who RSL coach Freddy Juarez deploys in his stead, and whether that means there will be a formation change in any way.

One might think Giuseppe Rossi would be an option. He is not, as he’s listed as “not medically cleared to play.” What does that mean? Who knows.

Oh, and in case you thought maybe seeing Everton Luiz come back into the lineup was a possibility, that’s also not. He, too, is listed as not medically cleared to play.

Rediscovering results

RSL’s wins in 2020 have been separated from other wins by at least two losses or draws on all occasions. (In fact, at least one of those has always been a loss this year. It’s been a hard year in so many ways for so many of us.)

It would sure be nice if RSL found more positive results in 2020. A win tonight would give us our first three-game, two-win series. That’s good enough for me.

Predicted lineup

Herrera, Glad, Onuoha, Toia
Ruiz, Beckerman
Meram, Kreilach, Chang

(Of course, I could be very wrong on this. It is, after all, 2020.)