Monday, May 25, 2009

Finally – Road Points!

It took them a third of the season, but RSL finally managed to get their first road points.  If nothing else, this should remove a mental block and give them more confidence on the road.  However, there were a number of positives in this match that I think also bode well for the near future for this team.  There were also a couple of concerns raised.


  • Ned Grabavoy: this was what I had been expecting to see out of Grabavoy.  He really commanded space in the midfield and most importantly he was excellent at distributing the ball.  In his first start with RSL, he made a claim to stay in the starting XI. 
  • Formation: for the second consecutive road match, RSL employed a 4-5-1.  However, they were able to attack much more out of it this time.  The outside backs made much more confident runs forward this time, and RSL did well at possessing the ball, and finding the seems to create danger.
  • Shots: Real Salt Lake outshot their opponent 14-8.  They created some dangerous chances, and more impressively these chances came primarily out of the buildup through the midfield.


  • Robbie Findley: I like Findley and think he’ll be a key to this team this season.  However, I don’t think that he is a good fit as a lone striker.  First, he isn’t great at holding up the ball allowing his teammates to enter the attack.  Second, he’s not the type of player that can create shots on his own, and fight off defenders to get into dangerous spots on the field. Finally, with only one forward, the opponents are able to negate his best asset – his speed.
  • Finishing: Despite 14 shots, and 8 of them on goal, RSL was unable to find the net.  Josh Wicks appeared to have a great match in goal, but the team needs to figure out how to finish their chances.  They have had 3 scoreless matches in a row, and something has got to change to turn that around. 


  • The 4-5-1. At this point, I don’t see this changing in the near future on the road.  As the team gets more comfortable with this, I think they’ll find more success with it.
  • Change in striker?  I’m not sure that we’ll see Findley in the starting lineup.  I’d prefer to see Espindola in that role in the 4-5-1.
  • More Grabavoy.  Look for him to start again against San Jose.  He’s been the first sub typically this season, and did extremely well in the start at DC.
  • Reign in Wingert.  Through this season I’ve noticed Wingert getting forward much more and defending much less.  I’d expect that his benching against DC was partly to send a message that he needs to mind his defensive responsibilities.