Let's gaze into our crystal ball for a minute here and think about the start of the season. It's under a month away — color me surprised it's gone this quickly — and we've got some insight on injuries and potential absences that will shape our lineup on opening day.
WIthout further ado, let's take a look.
Nick Rimando. He has some slight injury concerns at current, but he's training at least near-fully, it would appear. Today's friendly against LA Galaxy will be elucidating. On the bench might be Jeff Attinella, but if we sign Josh Saunders, I reckon he'll be handed a bench spot instead. Will we do that? Statements from RSL general manager Garth Lagerwey are mixed.
On the bench: Jeff Attinella.
Tony Beltran, Kwame Watson-Siriboe, Chris Schuler, Kenny Mansally. Beltran is a slight injury concern, but some rest will do him well. I would be surprised if he's not starting against the 'Quakes. Watson-Siriboe and Schuler should form a good connection, and Mansally will be thrust in with Wingert out.
Kyle Beckerman, Cole Grossman/David Viana, Ned Grabavoy, Sebastian Velasquez. How we approach the midfield on opening day will depend on two things: Is Luis Gil back from the CONCACAF U-20 Championship? (He'll hope not, as the final is March 3.) And is David Viana ready to track back, or will Cole Grossman offer some important defensive contributions?
Additionally, this could all be thrown into question if we sign Khari Stephenson. Indications, however, don't seem good, with Garth Lagerwey stating that veteran players like Stephenson should be stepping up against college sides.
On the bench: Grossman/Viana (whoever doesn't start), Enzo Martinez.
Injury concerns: Javier Morales. International absences: Luis Gil.
On the bench: Striker X. Joao Plata.
Injury concerns: Robbie Findley is being rested in camp right now, and I don't know if there's something more significant at play, but I'm inclined to think he's just getting some much-needed rest after not having one since last summer.
Far too early lineup prediction
Rimando; Beltran, Watson-Siriboe, Schuler, Mansally; Beckerman, Grossman, Grabavoy, Velasquez; Saborio, Findley.
Bench: Attinella, Palmer, Maund, Martinez, Viana, Striker X, Plata.