Real Salt Lake’s 2012 preseason has officially come to an end. I have to say it was definitely much more eventful and fan-friendly than in years past. And I mean fan-friendly in two ways, but I’ll get to that later in my article. First off in today’s article is a review on our preseason performance.
RSL started its preseason fixtures with several ties against some of the other MLS teams down in Arizona for preseason training. I believe that the main purpose for these was to see all the trialists in action in a real game scenario. I won’t say much about these because of how little they really have to do with the current roster’s performance on the pitch.
The Desert Diamond Cup was truly a great thing for MLS teams, especially Real. It was very fan-friendly in that it was much closer to Utah than any other preseason tournaments and that it was live-streamed online by mlssoccer.com. It was interesting to watch the new guys play together in an RSL kit. It seemed obvious to me that they were trying to play the “RSL way” by keeping control of the ball with quick passes in short spaces and attacking up the wings. However, it seemed like they were almost trying to force it. At times it was a little frustrating. This is definitely temporary because the new guys are all still trying to gel in with the team and haven’t had much time. This was really evident when some of the first team players would step onto the field and things would really start ticking.
Performance-wise I wasn’t incredibly impressed. Aside from Real’s few great goals it seemed that RSL struggled to create solid chances in the final third. I really hope this isn’t a sign of what’s to come in the season. But then again, there was never a time when our entire starting eleven were on the field.
Jason Kries said earlier this year in a fan Q&A that he was a very nervous coach. He went on to explain that he knew the core group could perform, but with so many changes, it was hard to find confidence in an entire twenty-six man squad. I think that I feel about the same. I’m confident that our starting eleven can go all the way. But as for the new guys, I am very nervous, but even more excited. I have a feeling that this is going to be a growing year for most of the new guys. And come next season, they’ll be tearing apart other teams!