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Why a win was so important for RSL leading into the Gold Cup break

First Published      Last Updated Jul 06 2017 06:45 pm

Two weeks is a long time to dwell on the last match.

Fortunately for Real Salt Lake, a 6-2 win at Los Angeles on Tuesday gave it plenty of hope to carry into MLS's CONCACAF Gold Cup break. RSL's next league match is not until July 19, giving it a chance to build on the foundation of a team that proved Tuesday that it has the ability to score.

Going into Tuesday's match, RSL was in the Western Conference basement. The team's inability to finish chances in a 1-0 home loss last Friday night against Orlando was anything but promising, and another loss in the wake of that disappointment could have made for an especially unhappy break.




Instead, six goals at StubHub Center — even against a depleted Galaxy team — sent RSL into the break on a good note.

The win also lifted RSL (20 points) to ninth in the Western Conference, and only four points behind Vancouver for the last playoff spot in the West with 14 league games remaining.

The RSL squad that takes the field after the break will feature notable differences.

The transfer window will have been open for nine days, giving U.S. Soccer time to approve International Transfer Certificates and RSL an opportunity to nail down possible trades and/or international transfers. RSL has already announced the signing of Uruguayan center back Marcelo Silva, and expects him to be added to the roster by July 19, when it plays at the Portland Timbers.

Barring injuries to what has been a particularly banged-up team this season, RSL is likely to enjoy a squad that's almost up to full strength by the end of its break aside form a few long-term injuries to Chad Barrett, Jordan Allen and Omar Holness (knees).

Barrett was looking at a four- to six-month recovery after his surgery in late March, and Allen underwent season-ending knee surgery last week. Holness suffered an unspecified knee injury last week, but from coach Mike Petke's comments the day after the injury ("we know exactly what's wrong with Omar, unfortunately,") hint that Holness likely won't be back in the lineup anytime soon.

Still, missing three players makes RSL about as healthy as it has been all season.

Now the team has ample time to integrate a new member to its back line, and try to develop consistency in the attack that served it so well at Los Angeles.

mlee@sltrib.com

Twitter: @maddie_m_lee

 

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