Archive for July 2016

RSL disappoints on and off the pitch this weekend

A 0-0 draw at home against an opponent that you should beat is simply disappointing and that is exactly what RSL fans were treated to.  When RSL dominates an opponent and fails to get a result, at least the match can be entertaining, at least fans can draw hope that eventually the goals will come, but when the team simply looks disjointed it leaves one with lots of questions. So 14 shots for RSL, to 12 for New England, 2 shots on target for RSL and 1 for New England, a 52% to 48% edge in possession for RSL but much of that seemed to be in our own end of the pitch.
Prior to the match there was another issue facing RSL, a member of the Salt Lake Tribune’s sports staff was denied access to the Rio Tinto press box and their RSL credentials were revoked.  There are statements from both sides that support their stance on the issue and for me the reality of the situation is probably somewhere between the two statements.  I have never been a huge fan of Gordon Monson, largely because he writes about the Utah Jazz and I care nothing about the NBA.  He has over the past two years written two articles about RSL that I have found interesting, both question how decisions are being made after Dell Loy Hansen took full ownership of RSL.  Both take issue with what Monson called the dismantling of those who helped build RSL from a disappointing expansion side to a dominant force within MLS.
Was his take a bit simplistic? Yes in some ways, but were there also some legitimate questions being asked? Yes, one would have to be blind to the rapid pace of change at the top of RSL once DLH took over.  First losing Jason Kreis as head coach, due to a lowball offer and then losing GM Garth Lagewey who was looking to take on more responsibility (which seemed to make sense at the time) but then letting Bill Manning go as well, and wondering why not hold onto Garth given that move had to be in mind.  These are all questions that many fans have asked me online and offline over the last 3 years.

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Real Salt Lake vs New England Revolution – Match Preview

Draws at home aren’t good enough, never have been and never will be in MLS this year the home teams are 98-32-59, in the West 4 teams haven’t lost at home, 2 more have lost just once.  RSL’s has had draws in 3 of their last 4 home matches after winning their first 5 home matches, so while we can take pride in not having lost at home, we need to get back on that winning side of things and on Saturday facing the New England Revolution who are 1-5-3 on the road and who have never won at Rio Tinto, there should be no better time to get a home win.

It may not be fresh on the minds of RSL players or fans, but last year at New England we did one of those mixed lineups and got thrashed 4-0. Of course RSL has had a few of those big wins over New England as well, a 6-0 and 5-0 wins in their matches at Rio Tinto back in 2009 & 10.  This is actually a series that RSL holds a distinct advantage in with 9 wins, 5 losses and 4 draws and only twice in those 18 matches have we had a 0-0 draw and none since 2007. In fact 11 times RSL has scored 2 or more goals against the Revs, and have 34 overall goals against them.  Being shut out last year was the first time since 2007 that RSL hadn’t scored against New England.  Toss in the fact that the Revs will be without Charlie Davies, Juan Agudelo and others and it’s starting to sound like this one should be a cakewalk right?

The Revs could be getting back Gershon Koffie, who has been out for over a month, they also recently added Kei Kamara who has 3 goals since joining New England from Columbus. Add in Lee Nguyen and Digeo Fagundez, and the results can change, the Revs won just 2 of their first 13 matches but have won 3 of their last 6 so this is clearly a team that is putting things together.  So can RSL follow the example of LA and FC Dallas, both who beat the Revs 4-2?  I expect a full strength lineup from RSL (some questions about Joao Plata and Demar Phillips who have minor injuries they are nursing).  Still with LA winning last night, and both Sporting KC & Vancouver able to leap in front of RSL in the standing with wins this weekend, 3 points is critical for the Claret and Coblat.

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Real continue busy July as fans ponder is the glass half full or empty?

So at the midpoint of the season before last weekends 1-1 draw with Montreal and then Wednesday’s 2-0 loss at Vancouver I started writing a blog post wondering if the glass was half full or half empty when it comes to RSL.  I have my own opinions on this that I will share but I think we have to step back a bit first and ask what are we judging this based on?

Do we compare this year’s RSL vs RSL of years past?  If so what year, 2009 when we had a mediocre year but were able to make a successful run at MLS Cup, remember we were 11-12-7 and our run in large part was boosted by being moved to the Eastern Conference for the playoffs?  Or do we compare to 2013, a huge year where RSL was just 3 points shy of the Supporter Shield, made it to the final of the US Open Cup and lost in heartbreaking PK’s in MLS Cup? Perhaps the most accurate would be to compare it to last year, the first time since 2007 that we missed the playoffs, where often when faced with adversity it seemed the team simply gave up at times?  Is it fair after our 19th match to judge the team at all?

A lot of valid questions, for me I will try to compare the team to both our combined past, as well as the rest of the league at this point of the season.

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