Real Salt Lake Must Clean Up Poor Defensive Mistakes As Playoff Hunt Intensifies

Aug 8, 2022, 3:14 PM
Pablo Mastroeni - Real Salt Lake...
Real Salt Lake manager Pablo Mastroeni watches from the sidelines at Rio Tinto Stadium on August 6. (Photo by Laura Dearden of Real Salt Lake)
(Photo by Laura Dearden of Real Salt Lake)

SALT LAKE CITY – Real Salt Lake has been sliding down the Western Conference standings following a terrific start to the season and now finds itself in the 5th position, 17 points shy of leaders LAFC.

One of the main reasons for the dip in form has been self-inflicted mistakes from key contributors to Real Salt Lake.

Against FC Dallas three games ago, Justin Meram failed to control a simple throw-in that led to the opening goal of the game. Against San Jose a week ago, goalkeeper Zac MacMath cleared a ball under no duress across the face of goal straight to a San Jose player which also led to an easy finish.

Most recently against LAFC, Meram failed to complete a simple clearance and Jasper Löffelsend misjudged the bounce of the ball and both mistakes led to the opening two LAFC goals.

The uncharacteristic mistakes have been demoralizing for Real Salt Lake.

The continued defensive issues and mishaps have lowered the confidence of the playing group. Furthermore, the club is now playing with doubt, and not the certainty that was displayed closer to the start of the season.

Unfortunately, manager Pablo Mastroeni does not have the answer when it comes to fixing such mistakes.

“I think it is not letting the moment get too big, I think if you take a deep breath both of those plays are easily solved and I think sometimes when the engine is running faster than the brain, those are the types of plays that can happen,” Mastroeni told the press following the 4-1 loss to LAFC last weekend. “It is hard to train for those things, you cannot really mimic those actions. Those are plays that we have got to make and we have got to get better at.”

Next Real Salt Lake Match

Real Salt Lake will travel to Seattle for a date with Albert Rusnák and the Sounders.

The kickoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. on Sunday, August 14th.

The match will be available to stream for free via the KSL Sports and KSL 5 TV apps or on KSL Sports dot com.


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