Carl's Keys to the Game vs. Real Salt Lake
NRC sets up winner in Edmonton
As Nigel Reo-Coker’s fitness levels keep improving, so too have his performances. There have been a number of times in recent matches where he has put the team on his back with really inspiring performances.
Now that he has found his groove, and as a team leader, I expect more of his teammates to respond and take their own game to the next level.
His playing experience is well documented, captaining nearly every team he played for in England, including Wimbledon FC when he was just 18 and the U-21 English national team.
Now that our players know what he is all about, expect them to follow NRC’s lead in setting the tone and tempo for this game.
Contain Morales and Beckerman
Morales scores vs. Chivas
This RSL team lost some valuable players in the offseason – notably centre back Jamison Olave and stiker Fabian Espindola to New York and midfielder Will Johnson to Portland – but they still managed to keep much of their core together.
The turnover has meant that midfielders Kyle Beckerman and Javier Morales are even more important to this Salt Lake team. They both play in the diamond shaped midfield and if they get the freedom to play, they can really hurt teams.
Beckerman will play at the base of the diamond and try to dictate the pace of the game and keep his team in possession.
Morales plays at the top of the diamond and is more of an offensive threat. He likes to drift out wide, which opens up spaces for teammates. When he gets the ball in the attacking third he is always a threat to score or set up scoring chance.
You cannot stop these players, but we must contain them to have a chance to win.
'Caps put on the pressure vs. RSL
Rio Tinto Stadium is one of the hardest places to go and get a result, and when you play Real Salt Lake there you can expect them to have a lot of the ball.
One of the keys for us is what we do when we win the ball back.
We cannot afford to give it away cheaply, we must be aggressive and attack them in numbers and make them work to get the ball back.
RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando was spectacular when we tied 1-1 at BC Place, but he has had to be. He has made 30 saves in the last eight games which means this Salt Lake team is giving up lots of chances.
Being aggressive in our attack could bring us good rewards.