Absences, injuries set to ring in changes ahead of Seattle

Victor Decolongon - Getty Images

With the midfield depleted and the forward line missing a key player, Jason Kreis will have his work cut out for him as Real Salt Lake takes on Seattle Sounders.

With the midfield depleted and the forward line missing a key player, Jason Kreis will have his work cut out for him as Real Salt Lake takes on Seattle Sounders.

Absences include midfielders Will Johnson and Kyle Beckerman through national team duty and Ned Grabavoy through injury, forward Alvaro Saborio, and likely goalkeeper Nick Rimando.

Although Rimando and Beckerman are in the United States, the earliest they'd be available to join the team is Wednesday. If neither plays in the U.S. match against Guatemala, there is what Kreis called a "very, very small" chance they'd be available for the Seattle match.

"It's very, very small," Kreis said. "Logistically, to get those guys to Seattle in a time-frame that's acceptable, for the situation to be good for them to perform well - it makes it a pretty small chance."

Kreis is likely to deploy Yordany Alvarez in place of Beckerman, with Jonny Steele, Luis Gil, Sebastian Velasquez and, potentially, David Viana fighting for the spots filled by Johnson and Grabavoy.

Steele is likely to be preferred on the left, given his propensity for and competency in the tackle, and Gil has been preferred on the right during Grabavoy's injury absence. Both Gil and Steele rarely complete 90 minutes, with each completing three and four 90 minute performances in 2012, respectively.

This would seem to open a space for Velasquez. Viana is not likely to play, given Kreis's consistency in avoiding playing newcomers at this important part of the season, and given the attacking midfielders fitness status. Enzo Martinez would seem to have an outside shot at making the traveling squad.

Justin Braun, Paulo Jr. and Emiliano Bonfigli will each be hoping to replace Alvaro Saborio in the lineup, with Braun providing a vaguely similar playing style to Saborio, Paulo providing form, and Bonfigli providing a spark after his hat trick performance for the reserves.

Kyle Reynish will replace Rimando in the lineup if necessary, with Rimando likely to sit on the bench. Third-string goalkeeper Lalo Fernandez will be looking to continue his bid for fitness after recovering from a wrist fracture.

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