So on Saturday night RSL lost a tight 1-0 match to DC United, and to be honest neither team looked nearly as good as I expected them to, a part of that might be the way the respective midfields match up, a part could be that we are still very early in the MLS season and teams are still adjusting to new lineup, teammates, and such. Still, remember back to what Garth Lagerwey has said for a few months now, RSL will look better in June than they do in March and they will look better in October than they do in June.
So there were some real upsides on Saturday night, perhaps none more than the late match energy of Lovell Palmer who was a ball of energy on both sides of the ball and could be pushing for a start on Saturday against Colorado if he is fit enough to go the full 90. I think Chris Schuler and Kwame Watson-Siriboe were rock solid in the match and worked well in tandem of who was going forward and who was covering space, the teamwork and communications between them seemed to be spot on.
On the downside, I think RSL lacked a bit of energy early on in the match, it seemed to lack the intensity of the San Jose match, but that is somewhat understandable on a short week, a long trip to the East coast and your second road match in 7 days. You also have to remember that we were taking on two teams that finished in the top 3 last year, the two finished with a combined home record last year of 22-2-10.
On a non-RSL note, I also think the officiating was a bit more suspect than what we saw on opening day, not that it really gave either side an advantage but what was a foul one time wasn’t the next and that can always make it hard on the players.
RSL will this week be playing in their home opener against the Colorado Rapids for the only leg of the Rocky Mountain Cup that will be contested at Rio Tinto Stadium, with a great weather forecast it should be a packed house for the rare mid-day match (kick off is 4pm MT). Both sides put more on the Rocky Mountain Cup than I do, I understand the rivalry but for me RSL has simply owned it over the last 6 years and when MLS changed the schedule to stop these teams from playing each other the last match of the season, well it just lost something. Still, the two sides (both fans and players) don’t seem to care for each other much on match day, and that almost always leads to an entertaining match.
More on the match later, this was a huge week of breaking soccer news in Salt Lake City, as we found out that the USMNT will make two summer trips to Rio Tinto Stadium. First will be the June 18th World Cup qualifying match against Honduras, and then less than a month later the USMNT team will return to face Cuba as part of a Gold Cup doubleheader that will also feature Alvaro Saborio’s Costa Rica vs. Belize. Most markets would be happy to get the USMNT once, but in this busy year they will make two trips here to Salt Lake, and we as fans need to make sure we snap up these tickets. Today the Gold Cup tickets went on pre-sale for both RSL season ticket holders and for the American Outlaws supporter group, just one of the many benefits that STH enjoy.
We hopefully will see RSL make a run at the revised US Open Cup, and one has to believe that with no Champions League that we might just see some type of friendly match added to the rest of the summer fun at Rio Tinto Stadium, it is going to make for a great #SummerOfSoccer here in Salt Lake City.
That’s How I See It