Real Salt Lake earned a hard-fought draw with the New York Red Bulls Wednesday evening down in Tuscon.
It is a pre-season match, so the standings and result don’t matter too much; however, we learned a few things about the team.
What We Learned
- Saunders and Plata are for real: Both had exceptional nights.
- Plata scored one goal and created the second. His speed and determination clearly frustrated a veteran New York back line including Jamison Olave.
- Saunders made quite a few saves, robbing Fabian Espindola in the upper 90 on one. He is the real deal. The announcers wondered aloud why LA let him go. That we will never know, but the Galaxy’s loss could be Salt Lake’s gain if they can come to terms on a contract.
- The back line reserves are pretty good: The back line held New York’s first team to only one goal, even though Salt Lake’s midfield and forwards could barely hold possession. There were a few obvious mistakes, notably the second half goal given up in the 61st minute to New York’s reserves, but the back line did not play like a group of reserves for much of the night.
- Scoring is still an issue for the first team: They played 30 minutes against New York’s reserves and couldn’t score. They created a few good chances, but the last touch was always missing. This is a trend that needs to change if Salt Lake wants to contend this season.
- No Morales replacement in sight: Salt Lake has quite a few young attacking midfielders, but none have seized the role of Morales back-up / heir apparent. Clearly, Salt Lake would like to see one of these young midfielders step into that role this season, but we didn’t see a coming out party tonight. David Viana was particularly disappointing.
- Training camps worked: Salt Lake emphasized the need to train up a bunch of new young players in this season’s training camps. It’s hard to believe the reserves that lost to a college team less than two weeks ago beat the Red Bulls first unit in the first half tonight, but that is what happened. Clearly, they have taken a few steps forward and will provide solid depth for the season.
Note: Be sure to drop by following Saturday’s match when we’ll have a google hangout to break down all the action.
Category: Game Review