Real Salt Lake Rested & Primed For Return To Competitive Play

Jun 16, 2021, 2:50 PM
Photo courtesy: Real Salt Lake...
Photo courtesy: Real Salt Lake

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Real Salt Lake cannot be more excited to get back to playing competitive games, starting this Friday when they host Vancouver Whitecaps at Rio Tinto Stadium.

RSL, along with the rest of Major League Soccer, has been on break since May 29. The club prior to the break was playing a good brand of soccer, a brand that excited the fanbase. However, throughout the first six matches, RSL surrendered points in the form of draws and conceded late goals to further aggravate the frustration.

Rested, Recovered & Hungry

Although, the FIFA international break came at a good time according to manager Freddy Juarez. The players and coaches were able to spend time with their loved ones, rest their bodies and regain the mental fortitude before returning to the sweltering training sessions in the dry Utah heat.

Now, as the return to soccer quickly approaches, the anticipation is building and the nerves are returning.

The players are hungry. The club is adamant the early season issues have been resolved and the constant conceding of late goals will ultimately deteriorate over time.

“Lack of concentration has certainly played a role in the conceding of late goals,” Damir Kreilach admitted during media availability on Wednesday.

Another factor is the timing of substitutions. Juarez has used very similar substitutions in most games this year but has struggled to find the impact he wishes for off his bench.

Bolstered Bench

Fortunately, the front office has delivered when it comes to bringing new talent onto the roster. Bobby Wood has been training with the squad for a week but is unlikely to see competitive minutes for a few more weeks while he acclimatizes to the altitude after spending the previous two months awaiting the birth of his second child and not playing.

Jonathan Menéndez and Toni Datković are currently awaiting their visa paperwork to be processed before they will be able to enter the country. However, both players are working out with their personal trainers to ensure match fitness up arrival.

All three signings will have an impact in 2021. It will likely take all three players time before they see significant minutes for RSL, but until then they will further help Juarez bolster his bench.

If RSL can stop conceding late goals and find more impact from bench players the team will be in a position to seriously contend for playoff success.

We will find out what changes have been made over the international break this Friday evening against Vancouver. Kickoff is slated for 8 p.m. and can be streamed for free via the KSL 5 TV app or on KSL Sports dot com.

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Real Salt Lake

(Colter Peterson, Deseret News)...
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