Tag Archive for Khari Stephenson

Real Salt Lake vs DC United, The Good, The Bad & The Ugly match preview

I thought I would try a new theme for this year’s match previews, so you will have to let me know what you think of it.

The Good:

Alvaro Saborio – Nothing is better for RSL than to have a fit and on form Sabo, beyond the two goals last weekend there was the work rate, the hustle that lead to him getting 4 shots with 3 on goal, that is the accuracy that we expect from one of the best finishers in MLS.

Khari Stephenson – What a very welcomed surprise was the newcomer to RSL in week 1, he put in 80 plus minutes of quality in the midfield, took two shots with one on goal, but it was watching him being able to integrate so quickly to the way RSL plays along with his new teammates that was very impressive.

Nick Rimando – Nick is always rock solid,  it is probably that fact he has been so good for so long that many people take him for granted.  Still with a back line that was fairly inexperienced together, he was able to pick up his 100th clean sheet.  Now with Tim Howard hurt, Nick could be called into more action as part of the USMNT.

Chris Schuler – Big matches call for players to step up big, going into this season perhaps the expectations aren’t any higher than they are on Chris Schuler.  This is going to be a long season, with lots of challenges to come, but if Chris continues to improve and show what he is capable of it is going to be a good year.

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For Real Salt Lake it’s time for the MLS regular season

So it has been a very active off/pre-season for Real Salt Lake, the roster moves top any of the previous off seasons both in quantity and quality of players impacted.  The team was forced to take a long, hard look at both how to get under the MLS salary cap, RSL would have been about 1 million over without major changes, as well as how to become a better team on the offensive side of the ball.

The latter goal became evident when the history of “big” games at Rio Tinto Stadium was examined, despite being the better team in the 2008 Western Conference final against the New York Red Bulls, a 1-0 loss.  The same could be said of the 2010 playoff match against FC Dallas a home draw but a series loss, the 2011 Champions League final against Monterrey, a 1-0 loss, and the 2012 playoff loss to the Seattle Sounders, another 1-0 loss.  2012 saw RSL score 46 goals, but 7 of the 10 playoff teams has as many or more goals scored than did RSL.  It was no surprise that only one striker, Alvaro Saborio, remained with the team after the season, his 40 goals in MLS action over the last 3 years is only surpassed by San Jose’s Chris Wondolowski.

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