Real Salt Lake completed the second stage of training camp on Wednesday with a 3-3 draw against Minnesota United FC at Providence Park in Portland, finishing off the three-match tournament with three draws. There were many positives and negatives to be taken from the trip, including an offense that exploded for seven goals in three matches and fought back from deficits to get results in every match to remain unbeaten throughout six preseason matches. However, the seven goals allowed leave Head Coach Jeff Cassar with some coaching points to make as RSL takes a break before heading to Irvine, California for the final stage of camp.
“I think we’re at the right spot right now for preseason. We’re doing a lot of things right. We’re doing a few things wrong … it’s normal. But I like a lot of the things that we’re doing,” Cassar said after the match on Wednesday. “I love this group of guys. We’re improving each and every training session and getting what we want out of the games.”
Among the highlights thus far has been the depth of the club. After off-season additions of MLS veterans Chad Barrett, Luis Silva and David Horst and a youthful corps that includes SuperDraft selections Reagan Dunk and Justin Schmidt and Homegrown product Jose Hernandez, the versatility of the players throughout the roster continue to give Cassar options and variations to his lineup. Add in the continued development of players like Omar Holness and Ricardo Velazco and the hearty contributions of players from the Monarchs who were brought in to fill out numbers and contend with first-team players and each training session brought a new level of competition.
And that excludes the four RSL players (and a fifth RSL Academy product) who are away with the U.S. U-20 National Team readying for the CONCACAF U-20 Championships starting this weekend in Costa Rica.
In total, RSL’s seven goals came from seven different players, with each of the three prospective starting forwards – Yura Movsisyan, Joao Plata and Jordan Allen – getting on the board, two coming from midfielders Luke Mulholland and Holness, one coming from reserve forward Chad Barrett and the final coming from Monarchs winger Andrew Brody.
As the team gets ready to head to Irvine for the final stage, that continued cohesiveness and the health of the team are the focus.
“We’re relatively healthy. We’re getting fitter. We’re having great training sessions and accomplishing what we want to. Now we have to fine tune,” Cassar said. “That’s as a staff. That’s as a team. That’s individually. We have the quality, but we have to have the quality at the right times in the game to put the ball in the back of the net and we’re going to be working on that in California.”