What We Know About Real Salt Lake As Half Time Approaches

Aug 5, 2021, 3:14 PM

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Photo courtesy: Real Salt Lake

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Real Salt Lake is entering their 17th game of the season when they take on Portland this upcoming Saturday, marking the halfway point of the 2021 campaign. What have we learned about this group? What is still unknown?

Let’s begin with the positives, as there are more of them than the negatives.

The Positives

RSL has shown that in 2021 they are capable of competing on the road. They look more comfortable than they have in previous years and outside of the fixture against LAFC on July 17, RSL has been competitive in every road fixture to date.

The RSL Front Office has done a terrific job at building the roster to contend for playoff contention. The additions of Bobby Wood, Jonathan Menéndez, Anderson Julio, and the yet-to-be-seen Toni Datković.

When you dissect RSL’s roster, the depth that manager Freddy Juarez has at his disposal is unique. Every position has a handful of players capable of playing a role and the competition for starting minutes remains high.

As a result of positive roster composition, RSL has found success through the first half of the season. In every game, RSL looks competitive regardless of the competition.

David Ochoa has been given the green light to start in goal and has looked incredibly poised for a player of his age. The back-four has produced the emergence of Andrew Brody. When healthy, Brody and Aaron Herrera are two of the more aggressive full-backs in the league making for an entertaining brand of soccer. Justen Glad was on the verge of making the All-Star game and is in the midst of arguable his best season yet.

The midfield has played well. Nick Besler has emerged as a key contributor, Everton Luiz and Pablo Ruiz have also had periods where they have looked like the best player on the pitch.

Finally, the attacking third has been restructured through the ability of Rubio Rubin and Bobby Wood. RSL finally has strikers on their roster. Strikers that can flip a game on its head within the blink of an eye.

A Nail-Biting Finish Awaits

As positive as it has been for RSL through 16 games, although, there are some concerns.

RSL has dropped many points at home despite having leads in those games. If the season only included first-half performances RSL would be leading the league by at least six points.

Sadly, that is not how soccer works. It is a 90-minute game and RSL must learn how to put games away when leading in the second half.

Furthermore, Juarez must decide how to utilize and get the most out of the attacking players. RSL has a tremendous amount of potential, but is yet to show that the club is capable of getting the most out of its roster; specifically the attacking players.

However, the likes of Wood, Menéndez, Julio, and Datković are still growing into their roles at RSL. If Juarez can help guide them further and treat them fairly, the hope is that as the season progresses the club improves and the new faces will hopefully play a role in all of it.

The bottom line is that RSL is going to need to pick up a handful of road results. If RSL cannot find a way to pick up results on the road they will flirt with missing the playoffs for a second consecutive season and a missed playoff spot could impact the current status of management and executives, sadly.

Next Match

RSL will head straight to Portland and prepare for a fixture against the Timbers that is scheduled for Saturday, August 7th with kickoff slated for 8:30 p.m.

The contest will be available to stream for free via the KSL Sports & KSL 5 TV apps or on KSL Sports dot come.

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What We Know About Real Salt Lake As Half Time Approaches