Real Salt Lake Tasked With Reigning MLS Cup Champions On Short Rest As Games Begin To Dwindle
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Real Salt Lake is running out of time as the 2020 campaign only involves eight more regular-season games before the much-anticipated playoffs begin.
This year, the race to make the playoffs is tightly contested with just 12 points separating the best team in the Western Conference from the worst.
RSL has had patches throughout the season in which they have looked like the best team in Major league Soccer. But they have also had matches when they looked deflated, uninterested and low on energy.
The last match against LAFC was a game that did not excite the RSL faithful as the team lost at home to a Diego Rossi led LAFC 3-1.
No Rusnak, No Creativity?
Furthermore, RSL is struggling with injuries and players being unavailable. Albert Rusnak will miss five of the remaining eight games as he has been called into the Slovakian National Team as they attempt to qualify for the 2021 EURO’s against Ireland.
Rusnak’s presence will be missed. But his absence will provide opportunities for other players to step up and help fill the void left by Rusnak. Damir Kreilach will likely get more minutes playing the number 10 position. Pablo Ruiz will have more time to push forward and create with his left foot. When Rusnak plays, generally the ball always goes through him, but with him now not available, RSL will look for other outlets to provide as an attacking threat.
Incoming Seattle Sounders
The Seattle Sounders is currently the best team in the Western Conference. RSL, on just a few day’s notice, will be tasked with preparing to go on the road and limit the firepower that the Sounders possess.
“It is incredibly difficult to get the guys ready on such short notice. Tactically you cannot overload them, but making sure their legs are ready and they are mentally prepared are the two toughest challenges for me,” manager Freddy Juarez said.
Seattle may have the best front four in all of MLS. The combination of Roldan, Lodeiro, Morris and Rudiaz causes headaches for opposing teams. Combined they have scored 22 goals this season while adding 18 assists.
“They (Seattle) have a very impressive attacking core and we will need to be on top of our game to get a result,” Justen Glad said regarding the attacking players of Seattle ahead of the match.
“We cannot turn the ball over in silly parts of the pitch and we have to capitalize in front of goal. We cannot win matches without scoring,” RSL’s left-back Donny Toia said during his press conference prior to the trip to Seattle.
RSL is short at the center back position as well with Nedum Onuoha struggling to return to full fitness following a minor hamstring strain. It is unknown if Onuoha will be available for selection for the midweek fixture against Seattle.
Fortunately, Justen Glad will return to the starting XI following his one-game yellow card accumulation suspension.
While the attack for Seattle is as dangerous as it gets, scoring goals against them is no easy feat either. Stefan Frei has developed into one of the league’s best goalkeepers. He has four clean sheets next to his name already this season.
The Seattle Sounders will host RSL on Wednesday, September 7th with kick-off scheduled for 8 p.m.
The match can be watched on KSLSports.com or on the KSL TV app.
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