RSL Season Preview

Discussion in 'Prem talk, Those Other Leagues, and International' started by omsdogg, Apr 11, 2007.

  1. omsdogg

    omsdogg New Member

    Aug 1, 2006
    Salt Lake City, Utah
    Real Salt Lake

    2006 Record W L T

    RSL is looking at the 2007 season as a make or break year. Owner Dave Checketts has told the players they must make the playoffs as the team faces increasing pressure from divisions over a new stadium. The team was almost sold as stadium plans fell through, but at the last minute Governor Huntsman and the State Legislature stepped in and passed legisation to keep the team in Utah, and get funding for the stadium. The team is hoping to draw off last years second half surge that got them into playoff contention led by a highly explosive offense featuring league leading goal scorer Jeff Cunningham. His 16 goals led all MLS players and he also contributed a second best 11 assists. RSL's 45 goals scored were tied for 3rd best in the league, and the addition of talented Freddy Adu only serves to make this offense more explosive. Coach John Ellinger has decided to go with a 4-3-3 formation which allows Cunningham, Adu, and second year sensation Mehdi Ballouchy to all be on the field at the same time. Captain Jason Kreis, the MLS's all time leading goal scorer, has moved from Striker to midfield where he started his career to ensure RSL keeps their best attacking players on the field.

    As good as RSL was offensively last year, their defense was as bad or worse. They allowed a league worst (tied w/ Colorado) 49 goals. Many of those came in late game situations that led to losses or draws. Those lost points cost RSL a playoff spot and to make matters worse, no new defenders were brought in to quell the oppositions attack. Goalkeeper Scott Garlick suddenly retired in training camp, leaving Nick Rimando as the keeper. RSL also drafted highly touted Chris Seitz, the U-21 National team keeper as the keeper of the future. For RSL to achieve the demands of owner Dave Checketts, they need Adu to develop into the playmaker he's been advertised as so they can continue to score goals, and they need to patch their leaky defense.

    Players to watch:
    Jeff Cunningham- Can he duplicate what he did last year?
    Freddy Adu- Will he blossom into the player that he was expected to be?
    Eddie Pope- Can he stay healthy and anchor a backline that was repeatedly embarrassed last year?

    With all the offensive talent, RSL should break their playoff drought. A 4th place finish in the West doesn't seem out of the question.
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