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What we’re watching in Chicago Fire FC vs Real Salt Lake

RSL head east to take on a struggling Chicago team

What we’re watching in Chicago Fire FC vs Real Salt Lake
Lucas Muller | Wasatch Soccer Sentinel

Real Salt Lake just held the MLS Champs to a scoreless draw. They now head to Illinois to play the Chicago Fire. The Fire are 11th in the east, and RSL are 4th in the west, though only 3 points separate these teams at the early stages of this season.

There are no center backs. At all.

Ok, there are some center backs, but Marcelo Silva and Erik Holt are both out with injury, which would probably be fine, but Justen Glad and Brayan Vera are both listed as questionable on the injury report. That leaves next to no depth at CB.

This week RSL have signed 24 year old Philip Quinton from the Columbus Crew. Quinton did start for the Crew against RSL last weekend. His addition certainly helps the situation, and he did travel to Chicago, but it’s unclear if he’ll start. Caleb Turner of KSL Sports reported that Real Monarchs defender Keller Storlie also made the trip as a short term call-up to Real Salt Lake.

Bode Hidalgo may start at center back, but who's along side him is the biggest question mark of the game.

Gomez’s finishing

Andres Gomez has taken a massive step forward this season in terms of effectiveness in RSL’s attack, but he’s missed a number of sitters in front of goal. The young Colombian winger has scored twice this season and provided three assists, only behind Chicho Arango in both categories. Finishing is a fixable problem, but it’s certainly a point of focus for now.

Using the middle

Eneli and Ojeda have done a decent job of sharing midfield duties this season. In a year that was supposed to be Pablo Ruiz’s return, the young duo have helped RSL become more than a team that just plays out the wings.

Matt Crooks, after initially impressing in his first two games, has struggled a bit more lately. Much of his passing has been backwards, and his possession hasn’t been the best. He did look better against Columbus than he did against Minnesota, and Chicago will be a good test to see if that trend continues to improve.

Player availability

Out: Bonilla (knee), Ruiz (knee), Silva (hamstring), Holt (hamstring)

Questionable: Vera (hip contusion suffered 4/13/24 v CLB), Glad (adductor strain suffered 4/17/24 in training)

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