Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports
Hypotheticals are always a good bit of fun, and hopefully this one is no different. We can talk theoretically about depth all we want, but it's not until the chips are really down that we really get to see what it's like. So, without much further ado (but still a little bit,) let's go through the lineup.
Let's note that no player to have played in at least 10 matches last season for RSL is eligible for this discussion.
Defense: Lovel Palmer, Aaron Maund, Carlos Salcedo, Kenny Mansally. This looks rather like one of our preseason defensive lineups, doesn't it? This doesn't seem so bad. Palmer's looked good in preseason, Mansally provides attack, and the Maund-Salcedo pairing seemed to work well enough. I'm not too incredibly scared yet, but I doubt this would be a great back four against full-strength MLS opposition.
Midfield: Enzo Martinez, Khari Stephenson, Cole Grossman, Sebastian Velasquez. This one's a bit interesting — Enzo Martinez as a deep-lying playmaker (not the crunching-tackle-winning Alvarez type, to be sure) presents a different tactical approach than we usually deploy. Stephenson and Grossman on the outside of the diamond provide balance to the midfield and perhaps some shots from distance. Velasquez ekes into this lineup with nine appearances in 2012; deploying him at the top of the diamond is a pretty easy and straightforward decision to make.
Forwards: Robbie Findley, Joao Plata. Robbie Findley lucked into this spot as he wasn't with the club in 2012, and Joao Plata has looked bright for us in preseason. I'm strangely not too worried about this look. We do lose some tactical variety, which nearly tempted me into dropping Olmes Garcia or Devon Sandoval in there, but I think this is slightly more realistic. I mean, we'll see, of course.
Subs: Jeff Attinella, Lalo Fernandez, John Stertzer, David Viana, Olmes Garcia, Devon Sandoval. It's not the worst bench in the world, by any means. Viana barely misses out on my midfield, while Stertzer could provide an option as a two-way player. Also, we have two goalkeepers on the bench. That's fun.
We're lacking in subs here, but there's not much to be done about that, is there?
A final note: From this, we see that 17 of the 29 players in the squad played in fewer than 10 matches in 2012. We may have some depth, but it's important to keep in mind that we're likely to see significant growing pains among the squad. It'll be fun, right? Right?