Way more questions than answers – RSL vs FC Dallas Match Preview

He may not be someone I listen to on a regular basis, but one has to ask:

May I have your attention please?
May I have your attention please?
Will Real Salt Lake please stand up?
I repeat will Real Salt Lake please stand up?
We’re going to have a problem here.

If you aren’t confused by RSL, who can look decent at moments and then get their heads and asses handed to them in ways we just haven’t seen often in their history.

A 4-2 loss against expansion side MN, followed by a 3-0 win over Vancouver at home and then 4 straight matches giving up 3 goals or more, then a couple decent matches and a complete disaster in Houston with a lineup closer to our first choices than at anytime all season.  They will take on FC Dallas, the best team in the Western Conference, and then get a two week break (of sorts) due to a FIFA window.  I am not sure if they need a retreat to get their heads straight or if the locker room needs to be cleaned out, but anyone who thinks something doesn’t need to change is simply wrong.

If you simply look at this roster from top to bottom it is probably as deep as RSL has ever had, not the best and for sure not the best performing. Position by position you can go thru the roster and validate the talent there, yet when you combine it all it simply isn’t anything close to expectations.

So Saturday in Frisco, TX this team will again take the pitch the biggest difference between the two sides is simply the number of goals allowed. While RSL have given up 29 goals in 15 matches, FC Dallas have given up just 9 goals in 12 matches.  The result is a 5-2-5 record for Dallas and a 4-9-2 record for RSL, but surely there must be something more to this. Not really RSL has scored 13 goals but FC Dallas have only scored 15 in their matches. RSL have given up 8 goals in the first 15 minutes of matches this year, now think about that for just a minute. Dallas have given up 9 all season and whatever you want to blame the horrible starts on it clearly is a major part of the difference between the two sides.

I can’t make this a normal match preview because those are fairly pointless at this point, there is nothing close to a level of consistency from this RSL side. You will think they have things figured out a bit one week with a consistent defensive effort only to then get blown out the next.  The reality is without the ability to score goals you can’t average giving up two goals per match, no team is going to fear our offense at this point of the season.  The approach of Dallas has shown you don’t need to score a lot of goals to be successful, the difference between the two sides isn’t the one win but rather the seven additional losses RSL has.

We know RSL will be without Nick Rimando, on national team duty and while the praise for Van Oekel was heavy before the season started I am not sure he has lived up to the hype, I mean a 2.99 GAA is telling and not something that should happen in MLS. Sunny is suspended for a high boot in the Houston match, I get it but sure seems like piling on by the MLS DisCo given that some players seem to get away with a lot more than that on a regular basis. I am not sure the lineup actually matters much for this match, the simple reality is that no group of players that RSL has put out this season look good enough. At this point I expect a whole lot of players have to be worried about what changes might be coming, you would think that would lead to everyone playing harder, faster, better but not sure it will lead better team play overall.

I don’t expect RSL to win this match, I doubt they can get a draw, but any type of improvement over what we saw against Houston would be nice.

That’s How I See It!

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