Real Salt Lake (1-0-2) is one of three Western Conference teams yet to lose this season, and are one point behind the Earthquakes for third overall, despite playing one less game than San Jose. Last week they earned their first win of the season against a Toronto FC team missing Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley. It should be a great match.
Some RSL stats* to consider: RSL is tied with Seattle with an average of 1.67 goals/game. They are fourth in the league in overall possession (54%), sixth in the league in pass success (72.8%), yet rank last in the league in dribbles/game (2.0). This shows they play a very pass-oriented style of possession meant to make defenses run more to cover the ball. This style matches up very well against San Jose, which ranks second-to-last in possession (44%) and 10th in the league with 18.5 interceptions/game.
RSL has a lot of talent. USMNT goal keeper Nick Rimando will be in net. MLS assists leader Javier Morales will be in the midfield, along with USMNT vet and a hair-stylist’s worst nightmare Kyle Beckerman. RSL also has young players ready to make a name for themselves with forward Devon Sandoval and 19-year-old midfielder Jordan Allen, who will probably come on a sub and had the game winner last week. Also be on the lookout for 2nd year Englishman Luke Mulhalland, who was a key in the RSL offense last year, and forward Olmes Garcia, who is not afraid to shoot.
Line Up Predictions
My first big prediction comes with the starting lineup. I believe that Dom will start Shea Salinas at right wing in place of Nyassi, who has struggled recently. Shea can play both sides of the field, so I think he may start at RW, despite typically being played as LW. His halftime substitution helped change the composure of the game in New England.
Don’t expect any changes in formation, the 4-2-3-1, especially with half our defense out due to injury. I think Dom will still have Koval in the lineup as a DM along with Alashe. With Wynne and Stewart out, it’s not difficult to assume Shaun Francis and Cordell Cato will start as defensive wings. Goodson and Bernardez will start at CB. That leaves our three DPs: MPG will be the CAM, along with Emeghara on the left wing and Wondo as the target forward.
Predicted Bench Players: Meredith (GK), Harden (D), Nyassi (M), Barrera (M), Thompson (M/F), Jahn (F)
According to MLSSoccer.com (I’m sorry, I wish I could give you an up-to-date injury report!), the following Quakes are out:
FINAL Score Prediction
2-2 draw with goals from Emeghara and Jahn (who will replace Koval around the 70′). Our defense is still missing two key starters, and RSL knows how to score.
*All stats are at the time of writing
Photo Credit: Real Salt Lake Facebook Page