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Freddy Juarez Discusses Possible Formation Changes, More During Weekly Round Table

Photo courtesy: Real Salt Lake

SANDY, Utah – One of the very few positives coming out of the quarantined life has been the personality emergence of RSL head coach Freddy Juarez. Once a week, over the past two weeks, Juarez has sat down with members of the local media to answer questions they have on the current team.

This week, Juarez answered questions such as David Ochoa’s timeline, Douglas Martinez’s impact during the New York Red Bulls and potential formation changes.

David Ochoa

David Ochoa has longed been thought of as the long term answer for the man in between the sticks at RSL. I asked Juarez on his thoughts regarding the timeline in which fans should expect to see Ochoa as the starting keeper.

“I cannot give you a certain time as to when it will happen. What we know is that he is very talented, very young and very promising. My job as a coach is that when he gets his opportunity, whenever that may be, he is in the best position possible to not surrender the opportunity he has been given,” Juarez said.

Juarez, like the fanbase, is incredibly excited about the potential Ochoa has shown. His ability to impact the game is worth its price of admission at times.

Although, many young prodigies such as Ochoa still have a lot to work on. Specifically when it comes to the mental aspect of the game. Staying mentally strong and confident over many years whilst the pressure to perform is seemingly suffocating is no easy feat. Generally speaking, it is what separates the great ones from those that fell short.

Dougie Fresh

Douglas Martinez came off the bench in the 59th minute against the New York Red Bulls and had an immediate impact.

Juarez was kind enough to break down as to how that unfolded-

“The New York game was perfectly suited for Douglas. The Red Bulls were playing high up the pitch, despite being a goal up, and Douglas’s strength is his speed. He was able to penetrate the back four and find space in between them and the goalkeeper.”

Formation Change In The Future?

RSL has been playing a 4-2-3-1 formation for many years now. Juarez has opted to continue to play the same formation during his first year in charge.

Although, could that be changing in the future?

I asked Juarez if he had considered playing two strikers upfront, what would that look like? His response was fascinating.

“Days before the Orlando City game (the season opener) I had extended conversations with my assistant’s as to whether or not we should play in a 3-5-2 for that game. I opted against doing that because I felt that would be doing the players a disservice. Everything we had worked on in pre-season was specific to the 4-2-3-1. However, down the road, once we get a few more kinks sorted. We may play in the different formation.”

Juarez also admitted to being mindful of the players when it came to making drastic changes.

He does not want to put too much on their plate. He wants them to play freely and to enjoy the game. Then once we play the way we want to on a consecutive basis, maybe then we can tinker with formations. Ones that I think best suit our roster going forward,” Juarez said.

The Podcast

The Lion’s Den is an insider’s look at the Claret-and-Cobalt, hosted by KSL Sports personality Tom Hackett and RSL radio personality Spencer “The Guv” Warne. The podcast features exclusive access to players and Real Salt Lake personnel. Hackett and Warne talk soccer both inside and outside the state of Utah, while discussing aspects of the game both on and off the pitch. Join Hackett and ‘Spenno’ each week as they talk all things RSL.

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Tom Hackett is a Utah and Real Salt Lake Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the It’s Utah’s World Podcast (Utah Football themed) and The Lion’s Den Podcast (Real Salt Lake themed). Follow him on Twitter: @TomCantHackett.