Is it time to be nervous or time to step back from the ledge? A 1-4 loss? This is not the time to panic right? Well, RSL faithful, we don’t have to wait very long to start jumping to conclusions as the final two games of preseason are to be played on Feb. 16 and 19 against Minnesota United FC and the Portland Timbers. The regular season looms in just 12 days.
Hi everyone, My name is Matthew Lane, and I’ll be your host today as I walk you through where we are at and what we are looking forward to RSL’s preseason journey. A quick bit about me, I’ve been following RSL for over 10 years now, and was a season ticket holder from 2016-2019 until job prospects took my family and I to Mesa, AZ.
So where is Real Salt Lake in preseason? After an 8-1 win on their home turf in Herriman against Kyle Beckerman’s UVU, RSL moved their preseason to Portland’s Providence Park. Sunday’s match against Norwegian side Viking Fotballklubb of the Eliteserien kicked off at almost the same time as another big Sunday game, so we understand if you missed it.
To be frank, you didn’t miss much.
RSL quickly went down 0-1 to the visiting side, and it stayed that way through the half. Just after the half, RSL captain Damir Kreilach evened up the score line, but ultimately the team conceded in the 48th, 50th, and 68th minutes, leaving the match 1-4.
Defending was the main issue with RSL, but to give Viking FC credit they finished third in their league and put in their most amount of points in a season last year since 2008. Another thing to keep in mind was a few of our younger prospects were in the starting 11. Draft pick Jasper Löeffelsend and preseason invitee Pierre Reedy both got starts.
Going into these last two match ups before our season opener in Houston against the Dynamo on Feb. 27, I think we will see Pablo start locking in his starting 11. Hopefully Justen Glad and Aaron Herrera return to the field to shore up our shaky defense. I’d also like to see more of Scott Caldwell and Sergio Cordova. Cordova may not be match-fit, but preseason is a great time to get him minutes. I’d also expect our mustache clad-wonderwall, David Ochoa, to have a good game with Adrian Heath on the sideline.
My biggest question going forward (pun) is where the goals are going to come from? With Bobby Wood hopefully back to 100% could he finally become the goal scorer he was promised to be? Can Rubio Rubin bounce back to his early 2021 season form? Can Maikel Chang finally have the breakout season we’ve been waiting for, and can Jonathan Menendez get enough minutes to show what he can really do? Damir will still score goals and be a threat, but with him presumably moving to more of a central attacking role, we need goals to come from elsewhere. It’s time for guys to step up and take their shot.
It may be healthy to keep our collective expectations for the team lower than we may be used to. Remember, the new ownership group is still finding their way, and RSL is truly in a rebuilding stage, with rumors of several key players coming in either soon or in the summer transfer window. That said, uncertainty has never stopped this team from overcoming low expectations. The upcoming matches can be streamed via the KSLTV App.
- Wednesday vs. Minnesota United — 6 p.m. Mountain
- Saturday vs. Portland Timbers — 6p Mountain