When you have two matches in 4 days it is tough, when both of them are on the road it gets tougher, and when you have had no luck in the US Open Cup for the last couple years and then have to face the best team in the league so far it may be one of the toughest weeks of the early MLS season.
This is the task that RSL will face this week, first up is the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup qualifier against San Jose, a foe that RSL faced just a couple weeks ago and beat 3-0. Do you think that the Quake's would like to get some revenge? You know they would, most years the LHUSOC sees MLS teams playing a mix of their first string players with a lot of their younger guys, even more last year without there being a MLS reserve league.
If you look at RSL's lineup last year in their US Open Cup loss at Seattle, you actually see that Beltran, Findley, Grabavoy, Horst, Russell, Seitz, and Andy Williams all played 90 minutes while Will Johnson and Kyle Beckerman both played 60 minutes or more. It was a very solid squad that RSL put out but they got beat 4-1 by the Sounders.
My plan for RSL in this match after the jump:
If I can step into the role of head coach for a moment, knowing that RSL wants to progress past the first match in qualifiying but also that they have a couple injuries and a match on Saturday against the Galalxy, I would go with:
Espindola - Saborio
and since there are 4 changes allowed in US Open Cup matches, I would make the following changes at the half:
- Borchers out, Schuler in
- Williams out, Warner in
- Saborio out, Campos in
- Espindola out, Findley in
Anyhow it would be a good chance to get some guys playing time with different lineups and let some of the young guys get some minutes as the prep for a very long summer, but don't forget that the most important matchup of this trip is match on the weekend.