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What we’re watching in RSL vs. LAFC

Real Salt Lake v Minnesota United FC Photo by David Berding/Getty Images

Well! Lucas is on vacation — his Twitter has some very harrowing photos from Oregon, actually, which I’ll just drop below.

Spare a thought for those affected by these fires, too. It is a dangerous world we live in, especially now.

Anyway, on that happy note, let’s talk about soccer — particularly, Real Salt Lake’s impending match facing Los Angeles Football Club, which takes place in (*checks watch*) three hours. I think.

What should we be watching?

Goalkeeper

I mean, I’m biased. I wrote about this earlier in the week. It is clear that goalkeeper is an area where we need swift and significant improvement, whether that’s from the players getting minutes now, or, say, David Ochoa. Will we see Ochoa play his first MLS match?

I’m guessing no, given he’s still returning to fitness after a thumb injury. But he is cleared to play, and I think there’s a real chance we see him. I certainly wouldn’t mind.

Defending ... in any way, shape or form

After some of the most awful defensive spacing I’ve seen from Real Salt Lake against Minnesota United, I’d love to see the team playing with at least a modicum of awareness. I do think that starts from the back, with the goalkeeper, but it depends on every player understanding their role. Justen Glad, for example, is a brilliant center back, but he is apparently a very poor right back. (Or at least he was on the night, and he was hardly the only one.)

Against LAFC, who are arguably much better than Minnesota United, the story needs to be different. We can be relatively assured that the lineup will be more first-choice, and they’ll need to show exactly why that’s the case.

Where will the goals come from?

We have actually not been terrible at putting the ball in the back of the net this year, but the question still remains for me: Where will goals emanate for this team? I doubt we can pin our hopes on Giuseppe Rossi, as he’s more an experiment than a proven quantity. We can’t really pin them on our wingers, as they’re also tasked with a fair amount of defensive work, and it becomes difficult to be a consistent goalscorer with that burden.

To this point, it remains a huge question. I don’t think we’ll get an answer tonight — but I’d love to be wrong about that. Maybe it’ll be Douglas Martinez. (Still, he’s young, and he’s unproven. He deserves patience.)

Match info

(I’ve literally just stolen this from Ryan Sanders’ match preview. Don’t tell him.)

When: Wednesday, September 9, 2020, 7:30PM MT

Where: Rio Tinto Stadium — Sandy, UT

Weather: 62 degrees, partly cloudy

Broadcast: KMYU, KSL TV app (streaming), ESPN+ (streaming out-of-market), ESPN700 (radio)

Referee: Victor Rivas