Categorized | Also Noted

RSL visits Philly in potential defensive battle

Posted on 11 June 2011 by kali

Real Salt Lake and the Philadelphia Union meet on Saturday afternoon at PPL Park (2 pm MT, KMYU 2.2) in what might be billed as a defensive showdown.

Each team boasts one of the best defensive units in MLS, excellent goalkeepers in Nick Rimando and Faryd Mondragon, and coaches that prize team defending, but the similarities don’t end with the back four.  Both RSL and the Union have struggled to find consistent goal-scorers this season, leading some to question both sides’ ability to contend for a league championship, despite their respective defensive performances.

Real certainly faces a number of challenges going into Saturday’s match — not only is RSL coming off a tough 2-1 loss at Columbus on Wednesday, but Philadelphia is undefeated at home this season in league play as well.  With the quick turnaround time between matches, a depleted roster due to injuries and the Gold Cup, and a 4 pm start, coach Jason Kreis acknowledged that his players may find the conditions difficult.

“We’re going to need to regroup pretty quickly,” Kreis said after Wednesday’s match. “We’ve got to regenerate. We’ve got guys in the ice bath right now, and we’ll take care of them over the next couple of days, because that 4 o’clock kickoff on Saturday is going to be a huge challenge.”

Part of that regrouping process will be getting players to play better team defense against the Union — in the Columbus match, turnovers in the midfield and some key miscues at the back ultimately doomed Real.  “We acted like we were defending but we really didn’t put the effort in to defend and that was the result of us losing,” Rimando said.

With few personnel options available, Kreis is expected to use largely the same lineup that he did against the Crew.  Central defender Nat Borchers, who was rested on Wednesday, should return to the starting eleven in place of Chris Schuler; meanwhile, neither Andy Williams nor Collen Warner has definitively staked out a place as the starting attacking midfielder, meaning that Kreis may opt to make a change there as well.  Jean Alexandre and Fabian Espindola, who each scored last weekend against Vancouver, are likely to remain the starting strikers.

Leave a Reply

Advertise Here
Advertise Here