What even is pre-season?
Right?! Being that RSL is a week out from stepping on the pitch as a first-team MLS squad in Orlando I’m worried. Maybe I shouldn’t be, maybe there are really good reasons to start Aaron Herrera (our best home grown product of all time as a RB) out on the wing that we’re all missing, or maybe this is just one of those moments where I have to shut my beak and ‘trust the process’. Whatever it is I’m left stunned after seeing some of the things we’ve seen so far this pre-season.
As Real Salt Lake stepped onto the pitch in Scottsdale we were hoping to catch a glimpse of our starting 11 for the first time this preseason. What we got, instead, was a ways off. Thanks for tuning in as I bring to you a write up on possibly one of the most unimpressive 90 min of soccer I’ve ever seen.
Bare with me RSL nation as I assign some (what I feel) justified scores to our players out in Poenix this evening. I’ll rank the players with a 1-10 score, 1 being: ‘should stick to rec league’ and 10 being: ‘will make the MLS all-star game this year’.
Damir Kreilach: 7 - I still don’t believe for a second that Damir’s position is striker. I just don’t see why we continue to service him at the top of the attack when he’s already really good at running box-to-box and causing havoc wherever he steps. Free Damir! We’d love to see him as an 8 and a true striker or two up top this year.
Justen Glad: 6 - Even while playing out of position, glad was pretty inspiring tonight. His hustle and determination to score made him serviceable out of position. I most definitely did not see enough for him to swap out Aaron Herrera tonight but it was fun what we saw of the stout youth. From forcing fouls, to carrying play out of transition and into the box, this was... fun. That’s all I got here.
Marcelo Silva: 7 - Taking this match at full volume we saw the Spaniard balling out in typical Marcelo fashion. He was gritty and stout as a CB practically controlling the match as the last defender back for most of it. All around, I hope to see a lot of that fight from this man throughout the season.
Nedum Onuoha: 6 - Ned and Marcelo are by and large the most consistently solid players on the side as of late. One thing of note here, is that we did seen Onuoha tracking forward a bit and helping out the midfield (with a pairing of Kyle and Portillo tonight they totally needed the help). This allowed for Marcelo to stick back deep and control the flow directly in front of MacMath
Aaron Herrera: 5 - Don’t get me wrong here folks, he was probably the most inspiring attacker of the evening when it comes to creativity and setting up chances (at least until Rossi stepped out onto the pitch) and the young homegrown did set up our first goal with an amazing sliding pass into the feet of Damir at the top of the box. I’m simply assigning the score here because 1) I have to and 2) I don’t ever want to see Aaron in at winger again. That is all, bye.
Tate Schmidt: 4 - Some late chances were created by the 2nd year forward, but there were some balls he sent in that didn’t even have a chance. Uninspiring at best on the night for Schmidt. I hope the coaching staff saw what they were looking for here.
Kyle Beckerman: 4 - You did you. It was really fun to see you getting creative during the second half and catching a glimpse of that sweet sweet KB-5 service we’ve seen in years past. Tonight wasn’t your night, and I cannot stress this point more, you should never be on the pitch at the same time as Portillo again.
Zac MacMath: 3 - Looks like you’re taking the starting role. Now it’s time to get on the phone with your predecessor and have him give you a few pointers about what it means to wear the 18. We’re not putting every goal on you and it would’ve been nice for you to have some help from your left back and CDM but, it shows that we need someone to come in and take control of that back line and lead from the back a bit more.
Donny Toia: 2 - I think I’m being pretty generous here. Every time Donny touched the ball in the second half I found myself wondering which Phoenix Rising player he was going to pass the ball too. This one stings as we expect more from our seasoned left back. You, Donny, do not do well with Portillo/Beckerman in front of you. While I don’t peg the entire sloppy performance on you, I do feel that you helped contribute to it in many ways.
Albert Rusnak: 5 - Simply put, he’s our highest paid player of all time. And we need to see more creativity from him. I’d love for Albert to take over a game once again like during the first year of his stay with us. He’s proven at his position (and a couple of others) but we just haven’t seen it out of the DP in a while.
On My Mind
Justin Portillo: 2 - I don’t have anything more to say here. Your work ethic continues to show out on the field. I saw a lot of touches get away from Portillo and I just don’t think that Justin and Kyle make any team scared to play against us.
Maikel Chang: N/A - the minutes seen from the newly contracted Cuban truly were not applicable to this match. He seemed a bit lost out there. I don’t want to assign a score though.
Nick Besler: N/A - Not enough seen here from your limited minutes to warrant a score.
Men of the match: P0AQ1`=\ P\=
\Justin Meram: 8 - Don’t get me wrong, Meram had some funny moments on the pitch, especially while tracking back on defense. He took quite a few attempts during his limited stretch but it was his late game stunner gave hope to a ‘what it could’ve been seeing him play the whole match’ for us. Pairing him with Rossi and Rusnák was some of the most inspiring soccer seen out on the pitch tonight for the side. I believe there is a lot left in the tank for the veteran here.
Giuseppe Rossi: 7 - You’ve heard it here before, we’re definitely excited to get this man a contract. Every touch he had was smooth as butter. Almost as if the ball and his foot suffer from some sort of chemical attraction. He is very capable at this level. Will see see some ink soon? Hopefully!
Overall impressions: We still really don’t know. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
As a fan of the club I don’t like seeing players out of position even if it’s during a pre-season match. As a fan of the club I especially don’t like seeing players out of their positions on the last match of the pre-season. So from me you heard it here first (maybe) — I think I’d be joined in a large voice when stating — “don’t play Aaron Herrera at right wing please”.
With a completely uninspiring midfield and attack once again, we’re left wondering if we will see some of the same antics that caused fans to question the accountability of this coaching staff in recent seasons. We still really love you RSL. Let’s just ease our feeble minds and get through the next week somehow together to see what product we actually put on the field. Oh and please keep us posted on that Rossi signing!