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Points of Obvious Refinement: Real Salt Lake vs. LAFC

What a fantastic way to start off a run of 5 games in 15 days.

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

Precision Peg

Here’s the deal, I’ve spoken in the past about how useful I think Andrew Putna’s ability to kick the ball 100 yards is. In fact, it was after Real Salt Lake beat Los Angeles Galaxy FC a few weeks back. I’m not as interested in it as RSL match commentator David James, but I do think it brings an interesting outlet to the team.

I’ll spare you diving into that again.

However, I think Sunday’s loss to LAFC showed two things:

  1. Putna can easily kick the ball 100 yards with no wind.
  2. Douglas Martinez and Corey Baird are the only two players on the team that can make a 70 yard sprint to be there when the ball comes down.

It was great to see one pass go all the way to the attacking corner, but it was heartbreaking to see Douglas stand there by himself with 4+ defenders surrounding him and nowhere to put the ball. It was even harder to see the ball have to be dropped all the way into the defensive third in order to find an opening between through the lines.

If Putna can consistently put the ball in the back shoulder of the defense, I think that’s the perfect place for it. It forces the defenders to make a decision and there is enough space that more players can be involved in the attack.

Hero Herrera

There are times that I’ve doubted Aaron Herrera. Early in his time at RSL he made a handful of bad decisions that lead to silly yellow cards or easy goals. He would panic a bit and tug a jersey or go to ground for a slide tackle and either see a caution or leave the attacker completely open to goal.

This season he has been an absolute gem for the team. Long dribbles through the defense, decent passes into the box, and clean tackles all over the field. He has somehow found a whole new gear.

Maybe it’s because he’s being played in position or maybe it’s because he has some experience under his belt, I don’t know. I do know that I hope every day that he eventually gets a move to a big club for a lot of money and when he’s ready to retire comes back to RSL.

Future dreams aside, I think Herrera will be a big part of walking away from Wednesday’s match against the Seattle Sounders with any points. We’ll need someone that can make recovery runs and bring the ball forward to help aide the attack. Seattle will look to press pretty hard and stay in RSL’s defensive half as much as possible. Herrera can help break that down and try to keep them on their back foot.

Mute (Man Mark) Morris

I haven’t watched as many Seattle games as I would like to, but I do know this:

Every match I’ve watched Jordan Morris has been a huge part of how the Sounders play in the attack. Ever since he discovered his left foot he is incredibly dangerous. He’s strong enough to play a hold-up striker and fast and skilled enough to come out on the right side of a 2 on 1 or 3 on 1 breakaway. He’s the kind of player that will cause a lot of problems for someone that isn’t fully committed to stopping him.

So just like Corey Baird did his best to stay on Eduard Atuesta on Sunday night, someone has to be on Morris and make Seattle work without him.

Personally, I would elect Everton Luiz to do it, but that’s mostly just my eternal desire for chaos and man alive would it annoy the Sounders after the 2019 MLS Cup quarterfinal match.