Real Salt Lake vs Tigres – Can RSL overcome a 0-2 deficit? Match Preview

You probably saw the first leg of the series last week and know that RSL has a hole to climb out of after losing 2-0 in Monterrey, you have probably heard others say that despite the loss, RSL played fairly well.  I guess you could say that but for me, I honestly believe we ended up lucky not to have given up more goals, Tigres could have scored a couple more off the mistakes RSL made.  Those mistakes came on defense, poor marking, bad passes, failed clearances, it simply wasn’t good enough.

On the other side of the ball RSL could have and probably should have had a couple goals themselves, so some bad luck kept the team from getting a critical road goal.  Again it simply wasn’t good enough.

So a week has passed and it is kinda hard to believe that a whole lot will have changed on the RSL side, a couple days of practice (interrupted by several players getting sick).  Now players will have had more minutes with the ball, so passes should be a bit crisper, shots should be of a better quality, and overall fitness should be better.  Now the bigger difference from last week could be on the Tigres side, a comfortable win in the first leg, a dramatic late finish over Club America last weekend and a huge derby match against Monterrey on Saturday, so what players will they put out in the second leg against RSL?

Here are some comments Head Coach Jeff Cassar made to the media on Tuesday about the match:

So what needs to happen for RSL to advance?

  • 0-0 Tigres advances 2-0 aggregate
  • 1-0 Tigres advances 2-1 aggregate
  • 1-1 Tigres advances 3-1 aggregate
  • 2-0 Extra Time and if needed PK’s
  • 2-1 Tigres advances 3-2 aggregate
  • 3-0 RSL advances 3-0 aggregate
  • 3-1 Tigres advances 3-3 aggregate with road goal
  • 4-1 RSL advances 4-3 aggregate

With everyone healthy for RSL the lineup likely will be the same as it was last week, perhaps a move to Chris Wingert in place of Demar Phillips to anchor a defense that simply can not give up a goal on Wednesday.  Here is what I think the lineup will look like:

Beltran-Olave-Maund- Wingert
Kyle-Sunny- Javi

For me on defense we have to see the Aaron Maund we saw in July last year, where RSL had their most successful month and RSL gave up just 3 goals in 4 matches while scoring 8. In the midfield we need to hope for a healthy Javier Morales who should have a bit more room to pull the strings at home as our forward demand attention from the Tigres defenders and midfielders. Up top it has to be both Yura and Jaoa both finding a way to finish their chances, we know what they are capable of now we need them to deliver.

We can fully expect Tigres to play 8-9 if not all 10 men behind the ball, and look for a goal on a bad turnover or set piece, but I don’t expect them to press as all they have to do is not give up 3 goals and they are assured of at least going to extra time. This means that RSL’s chances from the run of play will likely be limited, we saw in the first leg that Tigres isn’t afraid to play physical and commit fouls, so RSL will likely have to do what Tigres did and find a way to convert set pieces to goals.

RSL has to attack, they have to score at least two goals, but they can’t panic and make mistakes or Tigres will punish them, and giving up a goal to Tigres makes things very, very difficult as I showed above. It has to be a near perfect match from RSL to advance, it won’t be easy but at I explained earlier in the week RSL has 30 times in the last 5 years won matches at Rio Tinto by margins that would either win the series outright or push it to extra time on Wednesday.  It will be chilly on Wednesday night, the elevation will play a factor with Tigres (about the 60th minute on) and it is likely RSL will be the more focused team, all of those are things that could and should play to the advantage of the home side.  Will it be enough?

RSL Captain Kyle Beckerman believe the team still has a shot, but will need some things to go “RSL’s way”, here are some comments he made to the media on Tuesday:

I believe RSL will win the match, but if I had to pick a score line it would be 2-1 and maybe RSL gets a late goal to make it 3-1.  The only way RSL advances is if RSL can keep a clean sheet, that won’t be easy.

That’s How I See It

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