Keepie Uppie – Real Salt Lake Week 8

Real Salt Lake's Kyle Beckerman

The Week That Was

For the first time in team’s history, Real Salt Lake rode with 16 men into battle and the results weren’t pretty. With six legit starters out due to international duties, injuries, and suspensions, RSL looked to the past. Because of the amount and style of players involved in the game, RSL was forced to abandon the new look 4-3-3 and resort back to the Diamond Formation. For the first 15 minutes, the game seemed to be setting up to be favorable. They maintained possession, had offensive chances and played solid defense. Then the wheels came off.

In the 39′ Chris Tierney beat John Stertzer in a one on one situation and was able to bury a goal just wide of back up goalie Jeff Attinella. A few minutes later, American National Team mainstay Juan Agudelo was able to slip past Tony Beltran to give New England Revolution a 2-0 lead heading into half time.

RSL started the second half in a dazed and confused state, as they weren’t able to get much going offensively. Defensively they were playing below standards. In the 50′ Charlie Davies was able to give the Rev’s their 3rd goal on the night when a ball was cleared out right by the defense and Davies jumped on it. Finally in the 84′ Scott Caldwell scored his first Major League Soccer goal of his career. With the final whistle, a beaten down and depleted RSL team left New England with a 4-0 loss.

The Week Ahead

Real Salt Lake will be returning home this week to begin a two game home stretch against the San Jose Earthquakes (May 1) and Los Angeles Galaxy (May 6). Earlier this year, RSL was able to defeat San Jose on the road with a 1-0 win thanks to a Javier Morales goal, in what many considered the best game RSL has played in the 4-3-3. RSL will be looking to this game to get back to full strength and on the right track after dropping two straight.

RSL will be looking to get back to almost full strength. Nick Rimando, Jamison Olave, Jordan Allen, Justen Glad, Sebastian Saucedo, and Boyd Okwuonu will all be back healthy and from suspensions/international duties. Sebastian Jaime can make his return Friday, but has to paly through significant pain. Also Javier Morales hasn’t been ruled out and has been training this week.

It is possible that the only two players RSL will be missing this Friday will be Joao Plata and Chris Schuler, both who are slated to return around late May.

Sizing Up The West

Vancouver Whitecaps FC – 16 points (5-3-1)
FC Dallas – 14 points (4-2-2)
Seattle Sounders FC – 13 points (4-2-1)
LA Galaxy – 12 points (3-2-3)
Houston Dynamo – 10 points (2-2-4)
Sporting Kansas City – 10 points (2-2-4)
San Jose Earthquakes – 9 points (3-4-0)
Portland Timbers – 9 points (2-3-3)
Real Salt Lake – 9 points (2-2-3)
Colorado Rapids – 7 points (1-2-4)

Player Spotlight

Jordan Allen – Talk about a kid seizing any moment and going for it all. After spending most of last year on the injury report, making only two appearances in his rookie season, a healthy Jordan Allen is an amazing weapon.

While he wasn’t available for the New England Revolution game, due to being on international duty, Allen made the most of his situation. Allen was a second half sub for the U-20 USMNT in their 2-2 draw against Qatar. Then a few days later, Allen made the starting eleven against Croatia. Allen is in the running to be part of the 21 players to be part of the U-20 World Cup in New Zealand from May 30-June 20.

Inside the RSL system, Allen has the luxury of having play makers like Javier Morales around him. However, in the U-20 system he is looked upon as a primary offensive threat. This will only do wonders for the youngster, as he is a huge building block for the future. If Allen is selected to the U-20 World Cup roster, he will be available for at least games against Myanmar (May 30), New Zealand (June 2), and Ukraine (June 5).

Fun Fact of the Week

They say that defense wins championships, and there may be something to that statement. Through its first six matches, RSL had conceded five goals, with two of them coming in one game (against Philadelphia). Against the New England Revolution, RSL played probably its worst defensive performance of the night and dropped a 4-0 result. This was also the first time that RSL had lost to an Eastern Conference foe in 16 straight attempts.