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What we’re watching in RSL vs. LAFC

A tough test on the road

MLS: Minnesota United FC at Real Salt Lake Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

On Wednesday, RSL dismantled an in form top team in the West at home. Now, on the road they are going against the best in the west and it is time to take a look at what we are watching.

First, let’s start off with the keys to match if RSL will come away with the full-three points:

  • Shape and form - RSL will need to rotate and shift on defense - LAFC has some top scorers and they cannot go unmarked. Often, when RSL’s stingy defense gives up a goal it centers on someone being left unmarked.
  • finishing - RSL has struggled at times to really find the back of the next consistently. We have key passes in almost every match, and chances go unused in almost every match. We are going to need to capitalize on some of those chances to have a chance against LAFC.
  • Team mentality - RSL needs to play as a team. Individually we might not have the same level of talent at every position (money speaks sometimes) however, RSL as a team, can beat any one or two players. So, if they show up and play as a team, RSL can walk away with a point or points.

What else are we watching?

CORDOVA - Can he keep up his goal scoring pace? He has the size to be a threat in the middle, and with players coming over to him it often leads Savarino open. Neither player can be left unmarked by a club without a risk, so can they continue their pairing up top?

SUBSTITUTIONS - We haven’t heard much about subs this season. It has been a favorite frustration to discuss for fans for years with RSL. The only thing I will mention here is that we have some players who have logged a lot of minutes. Do we look to rotate on the road? Do we look towards the last few matches of the season as a playoff push, or do we push hard now to stay above the playoff line? I think that after the win on Wednesday we go for it, but Pablo may make some changes.

NEW PLAYERS - Do any new players, picked up this summer, get more playing time? Have they gotten up to speed with the team? Are they ready to contribute? These are all things we are watching, because a few questions are still out there, does Bobby Wood make it back for the playoffs? If so, does that help us or hurt us? Does Damir Kreilach come back this season at all? Where would he play with our current lineup? Do any of the new players make an impact? Are we looking long-term with those acquisitions? Whether or not any of them play, or whether RSL can have a good showing against LAFC will help give some clarity or answers to those questions.