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Points of Obvious Refinement: Preseason

Dawn is upon the new season! What can Real Salt Lake take away from three preseason games to start the 2021 season on the right foot?

MLS: 2021 Real Salt Lake Media Day USA TODAY NETWORK

The team is back, so I guess that means I have to put my “Monday Morning Quarterback” hat back on, accept and embrace the irony, and then espouse some observations. It’s preseason and I’m a bit rusty, so we’ll throw it all into one post.

Center Backed

If you in any way are part of the Real Salt Lake social media sphere, you’ve probably seen way too much commentary about the lack of depth at center back...so here’s some more.

The center back situation for the season is going to be wild. Justen Glad and Marcelo Silva are obviously the starting pair with Erik Holt fighting for the spot. In 2020, Glad and Silva combined for a total of 52 fouls and 9 yellow cards.

I have a strong fear that with Nedum Onuoha’s departure, those numbers will pale in comparison to this years. Nedum was a “calming” force in the back line and his absence could open the door for a lot of the panic defending that has bitten us in the past. The LA Galaxy match was a glimpse of that.

At least we have Nick Besler if things go too pear shaped.

Forward Motion

With Anderson Julio and Rubio Rubin on the roster along side Douglas Martinez (and then Bobby Wood), the team might actually have a group that can go forward and be dangerous.

This could be a radical change for the team, assuming that they see meaningful minutes off the bench. This could mean less minutes for players like Damir Kreilach and Albert Rusnak, or it could mean more minutes at their “natural” positions which could take that change up a notch.

Substitutions?

This season, MLS has kept the five substitutes rule and added the concussion protocol from FIFA. This means that there is ample potential for substitutions during regular season matches.

However, if preseason was indication...we may still not see an aggressive substitution pattern from head coach Freddy Juarez. Maybe the addition of Pablo Mastroeni will influence some more tactical changes, but we’ll just have to see how that pans out. There’s definitely a lot of names on the roster this season that can be used in some very wild ways, just need to see minutes and rotation.