Photo courtesy: Laura Dearden of Real Salt Lake....

What we learned about Real Salt Lake in 15 games

Salt Lake City Real Salt Lake are enjoying a well-deserved rest after their first 15 games of the 2022 MLS season as they enjoy their first farewell of the season.

The club will return to the training ground on Friday, June 10, when they train for the first time since their devastating road loss to Vancouver last weekend. Another practice will take place on Saturday, then the club will stop on Sunday before returning to the usual match week on Monday 13 June.

The season’s opening 15 matches have provided the fan base and media followers with a solid database to understand who this team is and what their potential is. From way back wins over the likes of the New England Revolution, to club record losses against the New York club, the opening 15 games have provided the fan base with a variety of emotions.

Council of State

The current state of Real Salt Lake is that they find themselves four points shy of the LAFC Booster Shield leader and third in the West. The injury bug that plagued the start of the season no longer exists. The club has brought back its stars from previous years at Jefferson Savarino and Anderson Julio while the other players are enjoying the benefits of a second year under Mastrowini with improved fitness.

Pablo Ruiz season breakout

Some players have played a massive role for the club in 2022. Most notably, Pablo Ruiz is well on his way to gaining recognition at the league level after impressing throughout the first half of the year. His ability to control the match with the ball was a great addition to the club, moreover, Ruiz was also great in terms of his defensive positioning.

As a result of a good level, Ruiz saw the most minutes for a midfielder in his 15 matches. His importance to the team is paramount.

Other notable performers

Other players who have exceeded expectations so far in 2022 include Sergio Cordova, Marcelo Silva, Zach McMath and Michael Chang. Cordova demonstrated his ability to score while making use of his speed and athleticism to break open defences. Silva donned the captain’s armband as Kreilach remained on the sidelines and looked like a completely different player, Silva being the ultimate team player who had yet to make an illogical decision, surprisingly. McMath took on the role of goalkeeper and never looked back. Zhang was also fantastic, the Cuban developing into a very important player for Real Salt Lake on the wing opposite Justin Meram and creating a host of opportunities with his impressive left foot.

Justin Meram, Justin Gladd, Andrew Brody and Bobby Wood are also doing well.

Hopeful improvement

Jonathan Mendes had high expectations for entering the 2022 season and he has not yet lived up to expectations. Injury played a role for Menendez, but even as the healthy struggle to find time to play. Nick Besler also saw his minutes dwindle in 2022, adding New England’s Scott Caldwell over the holiday season caused Besler to fall on the depth chart and thus find himself on the corner rather than on the field.

“culture”

Under Mastroini’s leadership, the club has finally proven its ability to deliver results on the road, something no other manager in the club’s history has been able to manage. At home, Real Salt Lake is dominant, and has not lost a match so far, winning five goals and drawing only once.

Assuming the slate remains healthy and nothing unexpected happens, Real Salt Lake will compete for the cheerleader’s shield and won’t (hopefully) have to rely on the decision day result to secure a playoff position.

Next game

Real Salt Lake will begin their farewell week and return to the field on June 18 when they host the San Jose Earthquakes on June 18.

As always, the match will be available to stream for free via the KSL Sports and KSL 5 TV apps or on KSL Sports dot com.

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