What We Have Learned About Real Salt Lake Through 15 Games
SALT LAKE CITY – Real Salt Lake is enjoying a well-earned rest following the first 15 games of the 2022 MLS season as they enjoy their first bye of the season.
The club will return to the training pitch on Friday, June 10, when they practice for the first time since the devastating road loss to Vancouver last weekend. Another practice will occur on Saturday then the club will be off on Sunday before returning for a usual game week on Monday, June 13.
The opening 15 games of the season have provided the fanbase and media followers with a solid database to further understand who this team is and what its capabilities may be. From comeback road wins against the likes of the New England Revolution, to club-record losses against New York FC, the opening 15 games have provided the fanbase with a varying array of emotions.
The Current State
The current state of Real Salt Lake is that they find themselves four points shy of supporter shield leaders LAFC and in third place in the West. The injury bug that plagued the start of the season no longer exists. The club has returned stars from previous years in Jefferson Savarino and Anderson Julio while other players enjoy the benefits of a second-year under Mastroeni with improved fitness.
Pablo Ruiz Breakout Season
Certain players have played a massive role for the club in 2022. Most notably, Pablo Ruiz is on track to receive league-wide recognition after starring throughout the opening half of the year. His ability to control the game with the ball has been a remarkable addition to the club, furthermore, Ruiz has also been superb in regards to his defensive positioning.
As a result of good form, Ruiz has seen the most minutes by a midfielder throughout the 15 games. His importance to the team is paramount.
Other Notable Performers
Other players who have exceeded expectations thus far in 2022 include Sergio Córdova, Marcelo Silva, Zac MacMath, and Maikel Chang. Córdova has showcased the ability to score while also utilizing his speed and athleticism to break open defenses. Silva has worn the captain’s armband as Kreilach remains sidelined and has looked like a completely different player, Silva is the ultimate team player who is yet to make an irrational decision, surprisingly. MacMath took over the goalkeeping role and has never looked back. Chang has also been superb, the Cuban native has developed into a very important player for Real Salt Lake on the opposite wing to Justin Meram and has created a bunch of opportunities through his wonderful left foot.
The likes of Justin Meram, Justen Glad, Andrew Brody, and Bobby Wood are all playing well as well.
Jonathan Menéndez had high expectations entering the 2022 season and is yet to live up to them. Injury has played a role for Menéndez but even when healthy has struggled to find playing time. Nick Besler has also seen his minutes dwindle in 2022, the addition of Scott Caldwell from New England during the offseason resulted in Besler falling down the depth chart and subsequently finding himself on the bend and not on the pitch.
Under Mastroeni, the club has finally proven to be able to produce results on the road, something no other manager in the history of the club has been able to manage. At home, Real Salt Lake is dominant, having yet to lose a game they have won five and drawn just the once.
Assuming the health of the roster remains and nothing unforeseen occurs, Real Salt Lake will be contending for the supporter’s shield and will (hopefully) not have to rely on a Decision Day result to secure a playoff position.
Real Salt Lake will begin their bye week and will return to the pitch on June 18 when they host San Jose Earthquakes on June 18.
As always, the match will be available to stream for free via the KSL Sports and KSL 5 TV apps or on KSL Sports dot com.
Real Salt Lake Scoreboard
Real Salt Lake Team Leaders
Real Salt Lake Standings