REAL SALT LAKE

Real Salt Lake Hoping To Build On Fast Start As Earthquakes Loom

May 6, 2021, 3:36 PM

Jackson Yueill #14 of San Jose Earthquakes tries to get the ball from Albert Rusnak #11 of Real Sal...

Jackson Yueill #14 of San Jose Earthquakes tries to get the ball from Albert Rusnak #11 of Real Salt Lake at Earthquakes Stadium on October 28, 2020 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Real Salt Lake will host San Jose Earthquakes this Friday evening in a fixture that will have the entire league paying attention.

RSL remains as the only team in Major League Soccer yet to drop a point in 2021, while San Jose enters the match on a two-win streak and in superb goal-scoring form.

RSL Momentum

RSL has revolutionized the way they play. Manager Freddy Juarez has utilized the offseason additions and transformed the manner in which RSL attacks. Historically, RSL has always been a dominant defensive unit and has continued that trend in 2021. However, it is the attacking prowess from the likes of Rubio Rubin and Anderson Julio that have transformed the attacking third of the pitch.

Both Rubin and Julio have scored two goals on the season. Rubin is also credited with two assists. The electric pace of Julio has caused headaches for opposing defenses, while, the ability of Rubin to play as a true number nine and not a false nine, has opened various avenues for RSL to attack through.

Furthermore, the ball has been transitioning from the back half into the attacking third swiftly and it generally begins with Pablo Ruiz. The left foot of Ruiz has proven to be an incredibly valuable weapon for RSL. He moves the ball across the pitch in all directions, he has a license to flick the ball where he sees the space and when Julio gets on his bike it is nearly impossible to stop.

The only concern RSL currently faces is the depth in the heart of the midfield. Everton Luiz will miss a number of weeks after injuring his knee in training last week, it remains unknown as to how long he will be sidelined.

Other injury concerns are Aaron Herrera and Anderson Julio. Herrera was subbed off in the 30th minute last week against Sporting Kansas City with a quad injury while Julio was subbed off in the same game with hamstring tightness. However, both players were not listed on the most recent injury report by the club.

Incoming Earthquake

San Jose is the most unique team in MLS. Led by manager Matías Almeyda, the Earthquakes are relentless in their pursuit of goals.

Firstly, the Quakes man-mark when the opposing team is looking to move the ball into their attacking half. Unlike every other MLS team that runs a zone defensive scheme, San Jose opts to go man-to-man.

Ultimately, that means that for RSL to have success against San Jose on Friday evening they will need to find ways to beat San Jose on the dribble. If Andrew Brody can replicate was he was able to accomplish playing right-back against SKC last week, then RSL will find themselves in many goal-scoring opportunities.

Secondly, when San Jose forces opposing teams to turn the ball over, they send more numbers forward than any other team. This tactic is a page out of Marcelo Bielsa’s book. Interestingly, Almeyda played for Argentina when Bielsa was the coach, which explains why San Jose looks like MLS’s version of Leeds United.

If RSL turns the ball over in their defensive half, they will likely be punished more often than not by the lucrative Quake strikers.

The class in which San Jose possesses in their attacking third is lethal. Headlined by Cristian Espinoza on the wing, Javier Eduardo López as the attacking midfielder, and their 17-year old striker Cade Cowell. Combined the trio has already equated for four goals and Cowell alone has three assists to his name through three games.

RSL will need to be solid in possession, they will need to control the tempo and speed of the contest and methodically march their way down the pitch. San Jose’s biggest weapon is their transition. So, assuming RSL can hold onto the football, they should be able to comfortably hold San Jose at bay.

Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m. You can stream the match for free via the KSL 5 TV app or on KSLSports.com.

 

 

  • Real Salt Lake Leaders

  • Real Salt Lake Standings

Real Salt Lake

Chicho Arango RSL Real Salt Lake Chicago Fire FC...

Chandler Holt

Chicho Arango Brace Propels RSL To Big Win Over Chicago Fire FC

Real Salt Lake picked up its first win of the month in convincing fashion as they blew out the Chicago Fire FC, 4-0, at Soldier Field.

2 days ago

Chicho Arango RSL Real Salt Lake goals...

Chandler Holt

Chicho Arango Scores Two Goals In Five Minutes, Gives RSL 3-0 Lead

Chicho Arango added to his already impressive 2024 campaign with two goals in five minutes against the Chicago Fire FC.

2 days ago

Andres Gomez RSL Real Salt Lake...

Chandler Holt

Andres Gomez Gives RSL First-Half Lead Against Chicago Fire FC

Midfielder Andres Gomez gave RSL a 1-0 lead over the Chicago Fire FC in the first half at Soldier Field on Saturday.

2 days ago

Real Salt Lake Columbus Crew Philip Quinton...

Chandler Holt

Real Salt Lake Trades For Columbus Crew Defender Philip Quinton

Real Salt Lake is acquiring defender Philip Quinton from the Columbus Crew in exchange for General Allocation Money (GAM).

3 days ago

Chicho-Arango-Real-Salt-Lake-MLS RSL Chicago...

Chandler Holt

RSL Looks To Pick Up First Win Of Month Against Chicago Fire FC

RSL travels to Soldier Field this weekend with a chance for three points in the club's only matchup against the Chicago Fire FC this season.

5 days ago

Real Salt Lake Columbus Crew...

Chandler Holt

Real Salt Lake Plays To Scoreless Draw Against Columbus Crew

Neither Real Salt Lake nor the Columbus Crew could get on the board at AFF on Saturday. It was the second straight draw for RSL.

8 days ago

Sponsored Articles

ksl-sports-newsletter...

KSL Sports

KSL Sports Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the KSL Sports newsletter. Get the latest Utah sports news delivered to your inbox.

...

KSL Sports

Jazz Notes Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the Jazz Notes newsletter. Get insider analysis, game recaps and opportunities to win tickets!

Follow @kslsports...

The Road Home Mediathon 2023

The KSL Sports Zone and KSLSports.com are proud to support the all-day Mediathon 2023 at the Road Home, an annual tradition to raise money and other essential items for the Road Home, a Homeless Shelter.

3 kids wearing real salt lake jerseys smiling...

Real Salt Lake

6 Reasons You Need to Experience a RSL Matchday

RSL Games are a great way to spend time with your family with fun activities, good food, and traditions you can only experience at the field.

High angle view of the beautiful Rose Bowl Stadium...

KSL Digital Sales

How to Prepare for the 2023 Rose Bowl

Everything you need to know to plan your 2023 Rose Bowl trip in Pasadena, California. This year, the Utes will face Penn State.

Jordan-Clarkson-Utah-Jazz...

KSL Digital Sales

Notable Moments From The Utah Jazz Season… So Far

At the beginning of the season, the Utah Jazz were second to last. Now they rank in the top 10 teams in the Western Conference.

Real Salt Lake Hoping To Build On Fast Start As Earthquakes Loom