Sunday, June 14, 2009

At last - A ROAD WIN!!!

It took 7 road games to get it done, but RSL finally came away with a road win. They managed to shut out the LA Galaxy 2-0 at the Home Depot Center. While the win is a good sign, it did come against a Galaxy side without Landon Donovan who is with the USNT for the Confederation Cup in Africa.

However, some very positive signs were seen in this one:
  • The midfield played extremely well as a total unit.
  • Javier Morales controlled the flow of the game in a way that he has not been able to do much of this season.
  • Will Johnson looked like an enforcer out there as he made a lot of well-timed, strong tackles and also had tremendous distribution. His passing had been sloppy for much of the season, but was very crisp and accurate tonight.
  • Yura played well. Not only did he score the initial goal, but he looked like he knew what he was doing with the ball when he had it. He created danger, but also helped tremendously with the possession, and put in great effort defensively.
  • Some serious defensive lapses still, but Rimando was able to make some huge saves (and Alan Gordon has no sense for the goal).
  • Olave is almost always a net-positive for this team, but he has some spectacular lows to go along with his spectacular highs. He seems to be on a different plane talent-wise, but also sometimes appears to be on a different planet mentally. He clearly saved at least one goal tonight (but also nearly caused one). If he can sort this out, he's a perennial all-star (and headed to Europe).
  • The 4-3-3 allows Real Salt Lake to open up the midfield and gives Javier Morales more space to work. Especially on wide fields this makes them more effective at possessing the ball. The team still needs to improve their attacking in the final third from the wide positions, but they seem to get better with each game.
  • The 4-3-3 allows the outside backs to be more selective on their runs forward.
  • Movsisyan is much better out wide than I expected. I expected him to be a failure out there. Conversely, Espindola is struggling a little bit more than I expected.
  • Beltran played extremely well tonight. When Russell comes back, I think Wingert goes back to the bench. When Joy is 100%, I'm not sure he breaks the lineup. Two veteran defenders on the bench? I'd be shopping one of them too.
  • When Findley returns, it will be interesting to see who sits. I know it won't be Morales. I don't think it will be Yura based on his play in the last 2 games. Mathis? Espindola? Beckerman? Johnson?
Coming Up on Keepin' It Real: Look for a piece on Danny Mwanga, and one on La Barra Real.