For each match in the MLS Is Back Tournament, we will take a look at three aspects of the game that Real Salt Lake will need to have flipped on to find success.
Mind the counter – San Jose is known to put 1v1 pressure on the opposition all over the field. In doing so, the Quakes look to turn the ball over and transition into the attack quickly. RSL will likely need to leave extra numbers behind the ball – most often Everton Luiz – to prevent and control that lethal counter attack.
Pressure the pivot – When San Jose is in possession, they will look to play the ball through their two holding midfielders in the 4-2-3-1 formation. Getting pressure on those two players from the spine of RSL’s attack with Pablo Ruiz, Damir Kreilach and sometimes Douglas Martinez will disrupt the possession and create opportunities for RSL to gain possession. If they can do it in advanced positions on the field, playing a quick counter could be fortuitous.
Knocking at the back door – With San Jose’s propensity to pressure deep in the opponent’s half, it can tend to extend their back line. If they are caught too high, it creates chances for Corey Baird and Martinez to make runs in the space behind them. A quick ball into that space could lead to opportunities as well.
Tune it at 6:30 p.m. MT on FS1 as RSL takes on the San Jose Earthquakes in the Round of 16 of the MLS Is Back Tournament and find out if RSL can Flip the Switch.