RSL’s Depth Will Be Tested With Two Road Games In One Week

May 29, 2019, 12:34 PM | Updated: 12:40 pm
Atlanta United midfielder Darlington Nagbe (6) and Real Salt Lake midfielder Nick Besler (13) fight...
Atlanta United midfielder Darlington Nagbe (6) and Real Salt Lake midfielder Nick Besler (13) fight for the ball during an MLS game at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, on Friday, May 24, 2019. Real Salt Lake won 2-1. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)
(Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Real Salt Lake will play two road Major League Soccer matches this week beginning with the Montreal Impact on Wednesday and then against the New York Red Bulls on Saturday.

With 180 minutes of soccer in four days, head coach Mike Petke will need to reach deep into the roster to make sure his players are fresh to pick up a possible six points before they take a three-week break for international play.

The RSL Lion’s Den podcast hosted by Tom Hackett, Spencer Warne and Matt Gaschk discussed the depth of the roster and players getting healthy at the right time.

Players Stepping Up

Nick Besler has stepped up while filling in for the injured Kyle Beckerman in the central defensive midfield role. Besler has started the last three matches and has played really well.

“Besler has taken leaps and bounds this year,” Hackett said. “I was very critical of him last season. But this year, I have been pleasantly surprised.”

He was awarded the Man of the Match after the 2-1 win over Atlanta and planted the flag after the game at Rio Tinto Stadium.

“Nick Besler has been solid in that role,” Gaschk added. “He had two assists in consecutive matches.”

Now that Beckerman is listed as probable to play this week, Petke will have an easier time selecting his lineups for the next two matches. The RSL head coach also has many strikers at his disposal that can step in and produce.

“I believe the one change this week will be Sam Johnson up top,” Warne said. “I think he has served his time on the bench, while also playing well for the 15 minutes off the bench [against Atlanta].”

Possible Moves At Transfer Window

The transfer window will open up on July 1, which will allow clubs to make moves to improve their rosters. Warne thinks the depth of the team will force RSL to make moves, particularly at the forward position.

“I think it’s safe to wait until after July 1 to see how cemented the striker position,” he said. “Do they bring in a young guy to develop and learn from Bofo [Saucedo]? Or do they bring in experience? The writing will be on the wall the.”

Real Salt Lake will face the Montreal Impact on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. and the New York Red Bulls on Saturday at 5 p.m. Both matches will be streamed on or the KSL TV app.

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