Sandy • Real Salt Lake returned to a more familiar setting.
Not only was the team at home in Rio Tinto Stadium, but Saturday's night matchup with Sporting Kansas City also marked a return to the team's traditional 4-4-2 formation.
Coach Jason Kreis has made his living playing a possession-based style with a diamond midfield. But that doesn't mean RSL won't find its way back to the single-striker attack it used in recent wins over Toronto and FC Dallas.
"It's something we've wanted for a long time, but haven't had any success when we try to shift shapes," Kreis said this week. "And this year is different in a whole lot of ways. ... We feel like we can play in two different shapes, which is great."
A week ago, Kreis put forward Robbie Findley alone at the top of the attack in what proved to be a 3-0 victory over Dallas. Kreis said the tactical change was the result of a number of factors.
"It's where you're playing the game, which players you're missing, how to ... get [as many] of our high-level players on the field at once, and a little bit how your opponent plays," Kreis said.
Short on center backs, RSL traded two draft picks to D.C. United for Brandon McDonald. The veteran defender, however, was not among the 18 players Kreis selected Saturday.
"He's had a little bit of a down tick in his career," Kreis said. "Let's be frank and honest: His form has dipped a little bit at D.C. That's why they were willing to let him go. But we like to pull players in based on potential ... rather than where they are right now. He's a guy we think in our setup, with some proper direction, he could be a big contributor for us."
Real Salt Lake's youth program claimed a major prize Saturday, with the Arizona-based Under-16 team winning the national championship for development academies. RSL beat Dallas' Solar Chelsea 4-2 in Houston. Brooks Lennon and Park City's Sebastian Saucedo tallied a goal and an assist apiece in the victory.