On May 8th I sat down at my computer and essentially circled the date of August 27th; revenge date. Everyone knows what happened on May 7th, a match that RSL won according to the stats but is, quite possibly, the biggest loss of the RSL season. Javier Morales went down with that disgusting ankle break and separation and we all feared the worse. Well the worst hasn't come to full fruition, but its getting far too close for comfort. Now it's time for the rematch. This game could easily be spun to a revenge match: getting level with the team that took down our star. Given the grand scheme of things, though, that seems rather pointless. RSL needs not to worry about that and instead on righting the ship that seems to be sinking fast. This road game wraps up the 3 game road swing that has been anything but satisfactory. It's time for RSL to get points, or else.Of the many story lines that could be attributed to this match, one should stand above the rest: RSL vs another playoff contender. Or, better yet, RSL vs a team that is in the hunt to take away their playoff spot. With how the season started, this tag line would have been a joke to think possible, now its far from a joke but the sad truth. RSL needs points from this one in so many ways, starting with keeping Chivas at bay.
4 Keys to the Match for RSL:
1. Keep Labroca at bay.
- The midfielder has been bounced around quite a bit in his career but seems to have found some solid ground in LA for Chivas. By all accounts, he has been their best field player this year. His passing has been superb, his vision is surprisingly great, and his work rate is very Will Johnson-esk. The guy has turned what would be a cellar dweller of a team to an actual playoff contender. Kyle Beckerman will likely hold most the responsibility of keeping Labroca in check. To do so, Kyle will need to have a damn good game. He struggled against Geoff Cameron, a player not anywhere near as good as Labroca is currently, so things don't look overly promising.
2. Forget about Mondaini.
- Yeah, the dude busted the ankle of Morales. Yeah, he could be given a lot of credit for the struggles of RSL this season. Yeah, his punishment wasn't as severe as it probably should have been. So what. RSL can't let themselves get too worked up over the guy. He should be an afterthought. The best way to stick it to another guy, in my experience, is to beat him as a unit. Make him realize just how good this team is despite his vicious tackle. It'll be hard for the guys, I would imagine, to not want to at least give him a hard hit. If he plays, just play him as we would any other striker. Physical and strong, but nothing dirty.
3. Don't lose track JPA
- Juan Pablo Angel has had a rough season, his stint with the Galaxy was quite less than stellar. The old vet, however, showed just how short his memory is when he got to the Goats. His first game he was causing havoc like always, showing that maybe it wasn't so much himself that was struggling, but that the Galaxy system just wasn't the right fit. JPA has a history of giving RSL fits, especially on set pieces. We looked pretty awful defensively on set pieces in Houston, hopefully they were a focus point in practice this week. If not, JPA could continue his resurgence against a club he has had great success against.
4. Possess the ball with purpose
- One of the most irritating things about that game at Houston was how RSL went away from their possession game after they went up 2-1. The Espy sub obviously played a huge factor, but it was painfully obvious that the team suddenly wasn't overly worried about keeping the ball. This team is at its best when it not only controls possession, but does so with purpose. We did that for quite a long time in Houston, one of the lone positives. To be successful in this game, we'll have to do it for closer to 90 minutes rather than the 60 or so we did in Houston. We can beat this team if we play that purposeful possession game we are known to do.
Starting XI for RSL:
Key Player for RSL: Kyle BeckermanKyle will be the deciding factor in this game. If he is on, both defensively and offensively, RSL could easily dominate the weaker Chivas side. If he is off, however, Chivas will come at us multiple times and exploit the middle of the pitch. Kyle has been quoted quite a few times lately saying things aren't as dire as fans (myself included) and the press want to believe. With a trend of 1 win and 4 losses in the last 5, they certainly aren't that great. If I'm to believe what Kyle says - this team is ok, just in a bad slump, will be out of it soon - then he better show it to me in this match. Time and matches are running thin. Its time to put up or face the reality, KB.
Prediction: RSL 1 - Chivas 1
Goal from Johnson for RSL.
- I see this game as one in which RSL plays well, like they did in Houston, but commits too many errors to get the win. I don't think it'll cost them as much as it did there, but it will be 2 points we should have got left on the table. Hope I'm wrong, but this team seems to be playing this way lately.
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