Midweek Mailbag: Saborio injury doubts, Garcia, forward pairing, and Beckerman thoughts

George Frey

Only a few questions today, but that just means you're in for slightly longer responses and perhaps some tangential points. Don't tell me I didn't warn you.

Gundy FC (@GundyFC) asks on Twitter: So if Saborio is doubtful for Friday, who starts up top? Plata and Findley? #RSL

That's a fantastic question, and if I had an answer, I'd share it. I don't really. It would seem Saborio is at best doubtful, which hurts us but doesn't kill us. Plata-Findley has been an interesting pairing for me, and I could stand to see it again. It's worked against teams that actually care to possess the ball and aren't interested in sitting back entirely (at least in theory), so there's that consideration. I expect Seattle won't much be sitting back themselves. If there are any questions about their back line, these two are the ones I'd expect to start: Plata's full of magic, Findley's solid in many regards and very, very fast.

Maybe that's a controversial opinion. Some might venture that they're too similar, but I'd heartily disagree. Sure, they both have speed about them, but Plata is a striker who thrives with the ball at his feet, while Findley finds his best play coming without the ball. Findley is, after all, a smart player, and his movement off the ball will cause havoc. This isn't just in stretching play: He can often be found at the far post, the near post, in the box. He's also developed well with his head, and that's something we shouldn't ignore.

My next option might be Sandoval and Plata, and with the fluffy-haired-one in good form as of late, it might come into being. The dynamic is a little more obvious between those two, least of all because of their difference in stature, and that makes it easy to argue for.

David Dinger asks on Facebook: What's Olmes Garcia's situation, and when can we expect him back?

Garcia has been training fully, so we can expect him back pretty soon. It was a minor injury he fell victim to, thankfully. Which brings us around to the last question a little: Could Garcia play on Friday? I'd say there's a chance, but of anyone, he's shown his best coming off the bench. I'm still trying to wrap my head around this a little, but I'm guessing it has something to do with the space that opens up later in the match. Our fitness being what it is, particularly in the midfield, that's not unreasonable. It's fascinating, though: I think Garcia thrives with players tight on him, as it gives him the best opportunity to utilize his skill set - this seems more likely earlier on the match, but perhaps it's his threat that brings players closer to him later on.

Regardless, Garcia should be ready, and from what I saw from him for the reserves, he's in acceptable form.

Ty Clayton (@TysonsPsyche) asks on Twitter: What is it about Beckerman that causes some of the #usmnt fan base to not appreciate him?

The defensive midfield position is a difficult one to look stellar in. Don't get me wrong: Beckerman's fantastic, and he almost always is great for RSL and he often does really well for the national team. I'd say he was one of the best players on the pitch on Tuesday. What I mean is more that it's a position that doesn't naturally receive recognition in a possession system. For Beckerman to impress some, he'd have to a) complete over 100 passes, and b) make excessive slide tackles.

The thing about his game is that he might do the former, and he won't do the latter. He's not a slide-tackling defensive man. That's great, too: He's in good positions defensively that don't force him to make risky tackles. I can't complain about that. And his passes are rarely spectacles: He'll make a short smart pass before a Hollywood pass any day of the week. He involves the full backs in play. He'll give the center backs more time on the ball.

Why don't people recognize this? I don't know. It is, I think, the same reason Alvaro Saborio has received flak, and Robbie Findley has been called lazy, and Ned Grabavoy has been called overrated.

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