On Monday, Real Salt Lake fired head coach Jeff Cassar after the team got off to 0-2-1 start. This came on the heels of 0-4-3 finish to the 2016 season, followed by a Knockout Round loss to the LA Galaxy.
Many of the club’s problems can be traced back to the lack of goalscoring over this run. They scored two goals in their last six regular season games of 2016 and just one in their first three games this season.
Juan Manuel Martinez scored just once after July 1 and subsequently left the club following the season. The team’s star attacking player, Joao Plata, did not score in his last six appearances of 2016 and did not score in RSL’s opener before suffering from a hip injury and missing the last two games.
In the offseason they replaced club legend Javier Morales with 22-year-old Slovakian international Albert Rusnak at the attacking midfielder position. He has shown flashes of promise in his first three games, providing an assist on the team’s only goal this season, but is currently away on national team duty will not be featuring against the New York Red Bulls on Saturday (4 pm ET; UniMás, Facebook in US | MLS LIVE in Canada).
One player that should be out there is Yura Movsisyan. The Armenian international returned to Salt Lake City prior to last season after several successful seasons playing in Europe. He scored five goals in eight games at the start of summer but scored just two more the rest of the season, both coming against the Colorado Rapids on August 26. You can see his mostly below-average performances at the end of the season in his Audi Player Index scores below.
With Plata and Jordan Allen injured, interim head coach Daryl Shore will have to rely on youth on the wings, so Movsisyan’s performance will have to improve. The signs there are positive, going off his first three games of 2017.
After scoring last week against the LA Galaxy, the striker will look to score in consecutive games for the first time since June 2016 at Red Bull Arena on Saturday. If he does not, it could spell more trouble for RSL.