New England Soccer Today

Scouting the Opposition: A Look at Real Salt Lake with Denzel Eslinger

Prior to each match, New England Soccer Today will invite a reporter from the other side to provide insight regarding the Revolution’s next opponent.

This week, RSL Soapbox creator Denzel Eslinger shared his thoughts on the state of Real Salt Lake and what the Revs can expect when they face them at Gillette Stadium on Saturday Night.

What is Real Salt Lakes’ form lately? How have they been on the road?

Real Salt Lake travel to take on the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, MA. on Saturday at 7:30PM.

Denzel: Well RSL’s last lose was on July 17th and before that was April 24th, I would say their form has been good. The busy schedule has been tough on them with some travel issues, but the team was able to play some bench players last weekend against Colorado and still they were able to get a result. RSL has improved on the road this year, with 14 points from 12 matches; the club record is 15 road points. So there is still a lot of room for improvement all 4 of our losses this year have come on the road, hopefully we will set a new club record for road points this weekend.

What is their likely starting 11 on Saturday? Any key injuries?

Denzel: This is actually a tough question as RSL may take this match as a chance to rest a couple players after a very busy couple weeks, almost all of our forwards are nursing some type of injury but I expect that every player will be active for RSL this weekend (minus rookie Chris Schuler who broke his foot this week). If I had to try to read Jason’s mind I would go with:
Rimando, Russell, Olave, McKenzie, Beltran, Beckerman, Johnson, Gonzalez, Warner, Robbie Findley, Pablo Campos.
As I think RSL will rest a couple players from playing on the turf

What do you feel are the Salt Lake’s weaknesses that opponents have been able to exploit?

Denzel: In CCL play RSL has given up early goals in every match, but in MLS play they have allowed only 4 in the first 30 minutes of matches. On the road if a team can get out early and be organized enough to take advantage of a team that might be a bit tired and need 10-15 minutes to get into the rhythm of the game, RSL is 0-3-4 when allowing the first goal. I do think RSL commits a lot of bodies into their attack, so quality counter attacks that are quick to develop can be very dangerous for RSL.

What seem to be the Salt Lakes’ strengths this season?

Denzel: I think RSL has benefited from a rock solid defense, best in MLS in both goals allowed (17) and in shutouts (13). That has allowed us security in pushing forward our attack, which is also allowed us to score more goals than anyone else in the league (39). The balance is a result of every player feeling like they are a part of both the offense and defense, the mentality of “the team is the star” has firmly taken grip at RSL, and that allows every player to know that 10 guys have their back on the pitch at all times.

What Salt Lake players should fans keep an eye on Saturday?

Denzel: Alvaro Saborio, I am not sure if he will start but I would be surprised if he didn’t play in the match. He has been a real force for RSL with 9 goals, 4 assists this year, and he has proven that a foreign player can come into MLS and adjust quickly while making a huge impact for his team. I am also going to say Robbie Findley or Fabian Espindola, both have had minor dry spells (Robbie the worse of the two) and both are due for a break out match. The last time both scored in the same match was when New England came to Salt Lake City, that didn’t end well for the Revs.

Denzel Eslinger’s coverage of Real Salt Lake can be seen at Follow Denzel on twitter @rslsoapbox

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