Saturday’s 2-1 come from behind victory on the road for the LA Galaxy was a tough defeat for Real Salt Lake, who were basically cruising until a silly Kyle Beckerman challenge less than a minute before the halftime whistle sabotaged their game plan and set the stage for LA to mount a comeback.
Then RSL issued a club statement Monday afternoon, and just like that, head coach Jeff Cassar has been let go just three games into the 2017 season.
What happened? The timing of the move is odd but the logic is sound, as the Armchair Analyst explains.
RSL went winless in their final seven games last season, couldn't score even when they were healthy, and never seemed to adjust their personnel or formation unless forced.
To put it bluntly: I don't understand why Cassar spent so much time married to the 4-3-3 (which played like a 4-2-1-3 during both the Javier Morales and Albert Rusnak eras). It demanded more field coverage than Kyle Beckerman could really offer at d-mid, it asked for real, dogged defensive work from Plata and since-departed Burrito Martinez – neither of whom defended/defend happily – and it was never particularly cohesive on either side of the ball.
My other big issue with the formation was that the 4-3-3 moved Plata further from goal and turned him into an individualist, while at the same time asking Yura Movsisyan to plough a lone furrow. These guys should be a pretty natural forward pairing, and it's incumbent upon the next coach to figure out some sort of two-forward lineup that gets these guys working together.