Wasatch Soccer SentinelWasatch Soccer SentinelWasatch Soccer Sentinel

Real Salt Lake and Utah Royals news and rumors
Match Coverage

RSL loses 2-1 to Brondby in preseason outing

Fidel Barajas highlights a middling RSL preseason showing

I paid seven dollars and learned Danish to watch RSL lose this morning.

Well, that’s a little bit of a lie. I didn’t actually learn Danish. I kind of clicked around until I discovered a way to pay, then I followed the same process to find a way to stream it.

Anderson Julio opened the scoring for RSL with a crafty pluck off a center back’s poor pass in the 16th minute, intercepting the ball and firing home from 40 yards out. With Brondby’s goalkeeper well off his line, it was an easy affair for RSL’s striker.

Brondby leveled after RSL, for one reason or another, decided to play it out of the back with just Braian Ojeda and Erik Holt central. Holt played a middling pass to Ojeda, and he (quite naturally) wasn’t able to control the ball. Brondby’s Yuito Suzuki scored with a fine finish.

It’s funny, really. These first two goals came as a result of playing it out of the back poorly. Is this what we’re destined for in all but the very top leagues in the world? An attempted emulation of the possession strategies of the very best teams, marred by easily avoidable goals? Or is this just, you know, preseason?

Regardless, it felt pretty clear that Erik Holt, sporting a questionable beard, is layered with a significant and expected amount of rust. He played just 53 minutes in 2023 and was out through injury for huge swathes.

The second Brondby goal came in different fashion, with Nicolai Vallys firing from a relatively unprotected position in RSL’s box, with too much space between the center backs, the full backs and the midfield again costing RSL points or something like it. (This is a tournament, of sorts. They do sum points over the course of it. They don’t particularly matter.)

The 72nd minute saw a full change in playing personnel, and the match from said point sort of faded away for me. It’s fun to watch young players with the first team, but what we saw not young players featuring — it was a couple older players featuring among the youth. There’s really not much to take away from this portion, for me. If you’re curious who played, I’ve included the lineups at the bottom, as well as a very short snippet about the players.

Scattered notes about player positions follow:

  • Braian Ojeda and Emeka Eneli were deployed in the midfield, roughly as we saw last season. Nothing too exciting or interesting to report from the first half there.
  • The team was set up defensively in something of a hybrid three-man and four-man backline. Brayan Vera, Justen Glad and Erik Holt(!) looked roughly like a three-man line, with Andrew Brody in a left wing back role. As the match progressed, it really just appeared Brody had license to go forward, and Holt did not. Pretty standard, really.
  • Fidel Barajas played what looked to be a second striker role. He looked competent throughout, providing a couple exciting moments cutting inside from wide positions. That’s pretty good for a kid his age.
  • Diego Luna was shifted somewhat familiarly out left. Luna was wearing the number 8, which appears to be his new number. Good for him.
  • Zavier Gozo made his first appearance as a full RSL player, which happened at — some point? I don’t believe there was a formal announcement. He’s just a year younger than Fidel Barajas, but he looks far younger than that. Kind of funny, age.

Lineup

Beavers; Holt, Glad, Vera, Brody; Chang (Gozo 62’), Ojeda, Eneli, Luna; Barajas, Julio

72’ lineup

T. Gomez; Bonilla, Silva, Alba, Oviedo; Gozo, Caliskan, Dillon, Iskendarian; Hezarkhani, Paul

Faces and names you don’t know?

  • Kevin Bonilla is a 2024 draft pick
  • Omar Alba is a center back who plays at Real Monarchs
  • Noel Caliskan was drafted by Portland Timbers in 2023. He played four matches for them last season.
  • Griffin Dillon is a Real Monarchs player
  • Daron Iskendarian is a Real Monarchs player, too.
  • Aiden Hezarkhani is an academy player

Latest News

Real Salt Lake release new home jersey
Real Salt Lake release new home jersey
RSL and Utah Royals games we’re looking forward to in 2024
RSL and Utah Royals games we’re looking forward to in 2024
2024 NWSL Draft Recap: Utah Royals select seven players
2024 NWSL Draft Recap: Utah Royals select seven players
When goals are gone
When goals are gone
Farewell, Damir Kreilach
Farewell, Damir Kreilach
Utah Royals select two players in the Expansion Draft
Utah Royals select two players in the Expansion Draft
A look at the Utah Royals FC roster built so far
A look at the Utah Royals FC roster built so far
RSL's three-game Houston playoff series saw drama, tension build
RSL's three-game Houston playoff series saw drama, tension build