The New York Red Bulls head back home from their west coast trip to Seattle to face a pretty decimated Real Salt Lake. RSL is plagued by injuries, have a call-up and a red card suspension. They even have to bring up two Real Monarchs players just to fill out their roster.
It’s a crummy situation for both teams as there are only three MLS games on the docket this weekend (good luck with your MLS Fantasy squad).
Last time we spoke with Matt Montgomery from RSL Soapbox, it was the preseason. Here is what he had to say in response to our questions for Saturday’s regular season match up.
Once a Metro: RSL hasn't won in their last 11 dating back to August. What's going on with the team?
RSL Soapbox: I could fill a book with my ideas, but frankly, verifiable answers are hard to come by. No slide like that can just be down to coaching, even though we've changed one big piece there in the firing of Jeff Cassar. It can't just be tactical, because frankly, this is MLS, and tactics are only half the battle. It's not luck, it's not refereeing, it's not injuries, it's not players — at least, it's none of those things on their own.
What I think we saw was a particularly toxic combination. Jeff Cassar's coaching wasn't working, for whatever reason. Javier Morales and Juan Manuel Martinez shut off. Injuries popped up to key players in unfortunate ways. We lost a piece of ourselves along the way.
We'll know more in the next few weeks where the team's at, though. Three consecutive matches without a win isn't necessarily the best indicator of where we are as the team.
OaM: Are you expecting RSL to come into the game with an interim coach now that Cassar was sacked? Any rumors for who the next coach will be? (Please be Mike Petke...)
RSB: Absolutely. The odds that Daryl Shore is no longer interim coach in the next two weeks are, to my mind, slim. That seems to be the minimum time we're looking at. There's also this line of thought — and I think it's a little crazy — that we might pick Petke, but only after the match against your side. Now, I think that would absolutely be the best story we could see, but what do I know?
It is worth noting that the team is out interviewing, and that they did try to interview RBNY assistant Chris Armas and were shut down. (Sorry about that.)
OaM: Who are some younger/inexperienced players that you believe could make a name for themselves this season?
RSB: We've got a host of them! Brooks Lennon has a name for himself, but not in MLS. He's a great attacker, and we saw some real brilliance out of him against LA Galaxy last week. Sebastian Saucedo is starting to come into his own. Jose Hernandez is a young, extremely talented midfielder that could ease his way into the lineup as the season progresses. Jordan Allen already has a name going for himself, but expect him to continue to grow. This is a young RSL in some ways, and it should be a lot of fun to watch these players grow.
Expected injuries/omissions: Kyle Beckerman (red card), Nick Rimando (international duty), Albert Rusnak (international duty), Jordan Allen (injury), Joao Plata (injury?), David Horst (injury), Chad Barrett (injury)
Expected XI: Anyone who's left. But seriously: Matt van Oekel; Tony Beltran, Chris Schuler, Justin Schmidt, Demar Phillips; Luke Mulholland, Sunny; Brooks Lennon, Luis Silva, Sebastian Saucedo; Yura Movsisyan
Expected scoreline: 2-1, with one of the two teams winning. Don't ask me which. I'm scared.
You can catch Once a Metro’s responses to RSL Soapbox here.