Playoff Preview: Is RSL for Real?

By: Daniel Olsen

November 1, 2018

(Photo courtesy of RSLSoapbox.com)

Before last year expansion teams simply didn’t have postseason success in their first year. Then the Vegas Golden Knights happened in hockey. They would go on to lose the Stanley Cup to the Washington Capitals and Ovechkin enjoyed a nice honeymoon with the trophy.

In the winner take all knockout stage, LA FC is looking to be the MLS version of the Vegas Golden Knights but Real Salt Lake stands in their way. What must RSL do to avoid more expansion magic this year? Here are three keys to success for the Monarchs:

1. Play free: RSL wasn’t supposed to be here as hope looked lost for a postseason berth after getting shut out 3-0 by the Portland Timbers in their season finale. They got a break though as the O.G (original gangster for the older soccer fans) LA team in the Galaxy played themselves out of the playoffs with a 3-2 loss to the Houston Dynamo.

In a recent ESPN video, Moreno said that playing free is RSL’s best chance to win because they weren’t even supposed to be here so why not enjoy the game they love?

2. Match Petke’s fire: Coach Petke has been known to have meltdowns with the refs. The team shouldn’t match that literal behavior or they will see more red than an angry bull. They should just use that energy in the game. Wear the chip on their shoulder. Nobody gave them a chance in 2009 and they won the League Cup. Why not do it again?

3. Defense: Defense helps in the playoffs because if you play well you can give yourself a chance with penalty kicks at the end. There are no ties in the playoffs so at some point they will have to score but keeping the other team from doing so will help. The old adage still applies; defense wins championships.

Prediction: Score in regulation and overtime will be 1-1. After that it’s a toss up. It’s in California so I think they win the PK battle 4-3. Hopefully that’s wrong and the Beehive State sees success in soccer.

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