They've seen it before, and they expect to see it again.
Clogging the midfield, a strategy that some Real Salt Lake players guess they might start seeing more often this season, having already watched two of their three opponents use it — along with physical defense — in an attempt to disrupt their trademark short-passing game.
"That's our style of play — we're a possession team — so that's what they're going to try to take away from us," midfielder Luis Gil said. "It's something that we have to deal with, and we have to adjust to. It's going to be frustrating at times, when they just drop everybody back. But it's something we have to deal with, and sometimes, we come out good."
Most recently, Chivas USA tried to stop up the middle with extra men, and whether it worked or not, the Goats emerged with a 1-0 victory at Rio Tinto Stadium last weekend.
Coach Jason Kreis said he didn't think the extra midfielder in the Chivas formation caused RSL much problem, and his team did, in fact, control possession for most of the game. Veteran captain Kyle Beckerman agreed, as the team heads to Portland to play the Timbers at Jeld-Wen Field on Saturday.
"Seems like they kind of did similar stuff, these past two games," Beckerman said. "But it all comes down to what we do, and we weren't very sharp on the ball [against Chivas]. We gave it away way too cheaply, and in the way we play, in our type of formation, you can't give it away cheaply. If you do, then you're not going to be able to score. You're going to be constantly transitioning and transitioning, instead of maintaining possession.
"But even though we didn't play great," he added, "we still had plenty of chances to win the game. But we want to get to the point where we can dominate, win the game and not give away chances. We're still a work in progress towards that."
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