Real Salt Lake started the Tucson leg of preseason with a 3-0 win over Colorado Rapids, beating the rivals on a Damir Kreilach brace and an Anderson Julio goal.
RSL started with Zac MacMath, Andrew Brody, Erik Holt, Marcelo Silva, Donny Toia, Pablo Ruiz, Damir Kreilach, Everton Luiz, Justin Meram, Rubio Rubin and Anderson Julio.
In the 12th minute, Julio finished a Brody assist, putting RSL up 1-0. It stayed knotted up until Kreilach put RSL ahead 2-0 right before the half.
One thing that is starting to be clear, the potential that the scouting team for RSL saw in Pablo Ruiz is paying off. He has looked sharp, and looks to continue the form he found last season. Brody is a workhorse, and has been really giving some good energy to the team. RSL looked sharp on defense and there are a lot of positives to see in this team right now.
Kreilach is a solid leader on this team. In the 77th minute, he had a killer strike from the outside adding his second of the night. If he can be back in his normal midfield position, and Rubin and Julio are looking as good as they are tonight, RSL might have a couple of double digit scorers this season. The team really is not missing Rusnak, and I wonder how he will fit in, as his work rate is not really on the same level at times as what we saw on the pitch tonight.
In the 80th minute, RSL began to really get a number of players rotated in. Chris Garcia rotated in for Meram. Garcia looked good in the preseason last year, and it will be interesting to see if he finds more playing time this year. In the 86th minute, Bode Davis came in to replace Julio, and Kreilach went out after sustaining a bump to the head and was replaced by Milan Iloski.
One of the fun parts of watching this match was the Colorado commentators. It sure was nice to hear that RSL is expected to be in the bottom of the Western Conference again after the third goal. While RSL did not perform well last season, with the off-season signings, Bobby Wood joining, and missing Aaron Herrera, Justen Glad and Albert Rusnak ... well, I don’t know if I would jump to that conclusion as of yet.
While this is still preseason, there are some bright spots for RSL right now. Rubin and Julio look great. It looks like RSL has put together a team that can score, and yes, that might be a kneejerk reaction after a couple of preseason match. The defense looks good, and not just because of anything the backline did, but maybe because they didn’t have to. The midfield looked really good with Ruiz and Luiz. That pairing looks really good and they are both workhorses.
To recap: 3-0 RSL (excellent) — great play and more importantly great team play out of RSL. We’ll take the win and move forward!