Thoughts on Real Salt Lake – Week 4

March 30th, 2015 | by Aaron Payne

 

(Trent Nelson | sltrib.com)

(Trent Nelson | sltrib.com)

  • The story of the night is Jordan Allen. In the 89th minute a 19-year old scores his first professional goal, a game winner, as a homegrown player. This was totally awesome to see. This is the best way for RSL to get – and keep – talent. Unlike their foes this evening, the likes of Michael Bradley, Jozy Altidore, Giovinco, etc. are not likely to be coming to Salt Lake. The infrastructure is in place with the Monarchs, the academy in Arizona and other youth teams affiliated with Real. To be able to cash in on that talent, development and time spent coaching young players is huge, and those who played against Toronto, Sebastian Saucedo (who made his professional debut) and Allen, paid dividends with good showings and the winning goal.
  • Corners, corners, corners. RSL has had a penchant for not earning corners and surrendering corners to opponents. Against Toronto the story was more of the same. Entering the match, Toronto had a total of 3 corners on the season (not a typo). They were able to earn 10 corners in the match, moving ahead of RSL and putting Real at the bottom of the league with 5 corners on the season. Another nugget: All five of those corners were against the Union in Week 2, while during weeks 1 and 4 a total of 0 corner kicks were attempted. Unless RSL finds a way to score goals in the run of play, it is going to be difficult to score if they can’t get set pieces from corners. It is still early in the season and there is still time to figure out how to get those set pieces.
  • Which brings us here: the 4-3-3 started to look like what many expect a 4-3-3 formation to look like, with crosses being sent into the 18-yard box and goals being sent to the back of the net. This is how both of RSL’s goals of the match were earned – headers from Jordan Allen and Luke Mulholland off of service from Javier Morales. This is where we need to talk about Javi. It has been a pleasure to be able to watch him play soccer because of his creativity, ball-handling and the quality of service that he can give. After a brilliant showing against Toronto last year, Javi’s encore performance against Toronto was the two assists and the difference for RSL. Fantastic work.
  • I was impressed with Devon Sandoval, especially in the final minutes. He put himself in a position to score what would have been the second goal for Real with just minutes remaining in the match. After Olmes Garcia elected to take a shot at goal – instead of passing it off – Sandoval was visibly frustrated, holding his arms out as if to say “I was WIDE open!” He didn’t let that stop him from playing hard for the remainder of match, and he kept fighting. Check out how he fights off two defenders, gets to retaliate on defense and then passes a perfect ball to Javi who sets up the game-winner for Allen.
  • The broadcast crew of Alexi Lalas and John Strong were discussing the playoff drought for TFC (no appearances in nine years). This is the time where RSL fans need to take a step back and appreciate what exactly they have had for the better part of a decade: Seven straight playoff appearances (or two less seasons than TFC has been an MLS franchise), 5 straight 15-win/50-point seasons and an MLS championship as the capstone. This is a run that needs to be enjoyed, savored and appreciated while it is happening. This kind of success doesn’t always happen.

San Jose is next. See you then!

Aaron Payne

Aaron Payne

Aaron is a lifelong sports fan who also enjoys writing. It didn’t take rocket science to want to put the two together.
Aaron Payne

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