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What we’re watching in San Jose Earthquakes vs. Real Salt Lake

RSL continue their 3 game week with a stop in San Jose

Lucas Muller | RSL Soapbox

Real Salt Lake play their second California game this week, after having suffered a disappointing 3-2 loss to LAFC on Sunday. San Jose Earthquakes have one draw, one loss, and one win in their last three games, retrospectively. RSL are still in the last playoff spot, and with the Quakes three points behind them, they’ll need a win if they want to distance themselves in the playoff race.

The three back

Fans have been hoping to see three at the back for Real Salt Lake for a while and after one outing in that formation, there are some big questions. The first of those questions is if the center backs RSL has on the roster are suited for this formation. Hopefully they are, or at least are adaptable, but it’s a big change for the team. Justen Glad is the clear leader of the back, with Silva and Datkovic being serviceable, and Holt struggling. The second question is after getting carved open several times by LAFC, what do they need to do to correct that? From what Pablo Mastroeni has said, it sounds like it’s something he’s willing to give some time to workout but hasn’t committed to any one formation.

Short rest and rotation

We will see a different lineup and one of the areas RSL can afford the most change is in the attack. Rubio Rubin did not start in the last game and pairing him up top with Julio would give the team a good attacking threat. Anderson Julio certainly won his starting spot after his place performance. If Dami can play deeper, then that allows Rubin to start. Depending on how the team lines up, there are plenty of options on the wing but Menendez needs to be starting.

Midfield woes

The LAFC match was particularly rough on the midfield. Nick Besler struggled to connect his passes and Everton received a yellow card, causing him to miss tonight’s game on yellow card accumulation. We almost certainly see Ruiz start, and Kreilach may shift further back in the midfield but that leaves a defensive gap that would be a major weakness, especially given the three back system.

RSL injury report:

Out: Zack Farnsworth, Andrew Brody, Zac MacMath, Bobby Wood, Noah Powder

Suspended: Everton Luiz (yellow card accumulation)

Predicted lineup