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What we’re watching in Real Salt Lake vs. Colorado Rapids

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RSL host the Rapids in the first game of the 2021 Rocky Mountain Cup

Lucas Muller | RSL Soapbox

Real Salt Lake are coming off a very disappointing home draw and just two days of rest before hosting the Colorado Rapids. The Rapids have 24 points and are currently in 4th in the west, with RSL on 17 points sitting in 8th. Colorado have been better this season and just beat an abysmal FC Dallas. RSL will still feel the sting of the 5-0 Rocky Mountain Cup loss last September and will want to change that narrative.

Defensive struggles

Seeing out games has been a major weakness of RSL in 2021. It’s not something you can chalk up to any one player, but a leading, organizing voicing is missing. Nick Rimando was always excellent at keeping his backline in form. Rimando, paired with the voice of Beckerman in the defensive midfield role, meant the bulk of the team’s leadership was defensive-minded. No one in this current squad has taken up that role and it hurts the team. After the draw with LAG, Rubio Rubin said the team lacked focus, so the question becomes who on the field is keeping them sharp?

Meaningful minutes

Why aren’t we seeing more from players like Bobby Wood and Jonny Menéndez? Rather than ramping up Wood, it seems as though he’s being pushed out. Menéndez could have been a good addition against the Galaxy, but stayed on the bench. The issue could be with the coaching staff’s trust in these new players, but we were told time and time again these two attackers could be game changers and they need to be given the minutes to do so.

Maikel Chang

Cuban winger Maikel Chang has taken a solid step forward this season. At 30 years old, he’s one of the older players to come up through the Monarchs are break into the first team, but he’s proving why he deserves to be in contention for the game day squad. Against the Galaxy, Chang assisted in the first goal and scored the second. Winger is the deepest position for the team, but can Chang continue to preform at a level that justifies starting?

Injury report

Out: Zack Farnsworth, Andrew Brody, and Toni Datkovic

Predicted lineup