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Points of Obvious Refinement: Real Salt Lake at Minnesota United

Real Salt Lake started the season off with a strong left foot and pulled out their first win in Minnesota. With Sporting KC on the way to Utah on the weekend, what can they do to pull out another three points against an old rival?

MLS: Real Salt Lake at Minnesota United FC Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Three points on the road against a team we’ve never beat on the away leg. It’s actually pretty difficult to criticize too much about the performance when the outcome is a win, but that’s what I’m here for.

Meddling Middle

A lot of commentators, podcasters, and tweeters have talked about how big of a change it is for RSL to have two fast strikers that can shred a defense. That will work, but as history has taught us, it will only work for so long. Eventually, the other teams will start figuring out how to lead off Anderson Julio and Rubio Rubin to cut out forward passing lanes.

A strong midfield helps support fast strikers by being an outlet in the attacking phase of play and slowing everything down in the defensive phase of play. It builds more opportunities to go on transition and keep pressure in the other team’s half.

It’s a real change of pace for the players in the midfield and I have a feeling we’ll see a lot of permutations to see what combination works the best. Ideally, you need someone that can run the same speed as Anderson Julio while also being able to be as much a nuisance as Everton Luiz.

Center Back Rotation

Again, I’m going to talk about center backs, and I think everyone else will be until we see some new players come in to fill that spot.

I’m hoping that this week we get a chance to see another one of the three options that we currently have of natural center backs. My ideal pairing would be Holt and Glad, but almost as easily as I can make an argument for that pairing I can make an argument against it.

Ultimately, I think the only way the team solves the problem is by bringing in someone with experience or literally throwing the youngest players into the crucible and hope that they come out on the other side harder than a coffin nail.

Dark Hearts and Dark Arts

This is a rivalry match, at home, against a team that Real Salt Lake actually has a pretty tumultuous history with. If you think for one second that there won’t be some extra “housery” in this match from both sides, I would strongly caution you against placing any bets on that fact.

Word on the street is that there will be 10k fans in the seats, Roger Espinoza is still a player in the league, and David Ochoa hurt a lot of people’s feelings last week. It’s a combination that can really only go a couple of ways and most of them end up with Everton Luiz putting on his scary face and Zac Macmath escorting someone off the field.

The team even removed the digital ads so everyone can wear their new away kits.

It is my hope that the combination of the positive energy and the collective chips on collective shoulders will be turned towards the correct side of the field. It will be on Freddy Juarez and staff to help guide that light.

It’s going to be a solid night of soccer and, hopefully, a strong start to rebuilding the “fortress” that the Rio Tinto Stadium used to be.