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Crossing the Touchline: Talking Columbus Crew SC at Real Salt Lake with Randal Serr of RSL Soapbox

It's a quick turnaround two clubs who don't see each other often. We talked to our Salt Lake SB Nation friends to learn about Real this season.

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Columbus Crew SC earned its first victory in seven matches on Wednesday when the team defeated the New England Revolution 2-1.

The Black & Gold conceded just 35 seconds into the match, but responded well, scoring four minutes later, and earning the first comeback win of the year.

Kei Kamara turned a good year into a career year against the Revs, when the forward scored his career-best 12th goal of the season in the second half. Kamara is the league's leading scorer and is four ahead of his closest competitor.

Kamara isn't the only Crew SC player leading the league in an offensive statistical category. Ethan Finlay registered his ninth assist of the season on Kamara's second goal, which put him back in front of Benny Feilhaber and on top of the league in that department.

Columbus is yet to earn a win away from MAPFRE Stadium, but will have its best chance of the season Saturday when the team takes on Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium. Real received two red cards, one to midfielder Javier Morales and one to defender Demar Phillips, in a 1-0 defeat at the New York Red Bulls, making an already shorthanded side even more depleted.

Real is currently sitting outside the playoffs in the Western Conference, currently in the eighth spot. For a team that hasn't missed the playoffs in what seems like forever, this is uncharacteristic.

We reached out to RSL Soapbox's Randal Serr to get some insight on Salt Lake, a team that Crew SC fans don't see too often.

Questions for RSL Soapbox

Massive Report: Lots of RSL players are going to miss out on this contest due to injuries, call-ups, and suspensions, specifically Javier Morales who is the team's leader in goals and assists. What options does head coach Jeff Cassar have left for this one?

RSL Soapbox: The first and most obvious choice to replace Javier Morales is Luis Gil. He has done it plenty of times in the past to varying degrees of success. I expect him to do well in this game in front of the home crowd. He also has plenty of motivation to show well since his minutes have declined this year compared to years past. Other players that are capable of stepping up at times like these are Jordan Allen (who has really put himself on the map this year with fantastic performances), Abdoulie Mansally (a solid veteran attacking defender), and Olmes Garcia (who is riding high after a stoppage-time goal against KC.

MR: Real has consistently made the playoffs over the last eight years. Currently the team sits eighth in the West, two points from the postseason. What are the expectations for this team over the second half of the season?

RSLS: Now is the time for RSL to turn things around and have more consistent performances. The first half of the season has been a roller coaster leaving fans wondering what team they will see from game to game. With a stretch of home games in the hot summer months, they have to take advantage and string together some wins to earn points that would put them right back in the thick of postseason contention. If RSL does not turn things around by the middle of July, I will be much more pessimistic about their odds for the MLS Playoffs.

MR: Both of these teams like to play an attacking style, yet RSL only has 15 goals in 17 games this year. Has something changed since Cassar took over or have things just not clicked for Salt Lake this season? If that's the case, why haven't things worked out over the first portion of the season?

RSLS: Jeff Cassar has moved away from the diamond formation that Real Salt Lake was known for over the past few years. But according to players like Javier Morales, too much focus is placed on formations. It's more about playing together and putting in the effort. I maintain that the reason for RSL not clicking has been injuries. Here is a short list of significant injuries that RSL has seen so far: Joao Plata, Javier Morales, Chris Schuler, Sebastian Jaime, Jamison Olave, and Demar Phillips. All of them are first team players and some of those players have missed months at a time. It looks like now that the attacking players are back things are looking up. Once we get Schuler and Olave back, I am confident that this team will be back to its winning ways.

To read Massive Report's answers to RSL Soapbox's questions, check out the their Three Questions.