Many important questions will be asked ahead of today’s match against Seattle Sounders, not least of which revolve around the lineup.
Luis Gil has been pushing for minutes, but the rise of Luke Mulholland as a midfielder not only capable of some great moments, but as one who fits the system quite neatly, has kept the young American on the bench.
Gil, who struggled with injury early on, has lost his starting spot. This is perhaps the first time that’s happened for him in his Real Salt Lake career, and how he responds when he finally starts again will be telling of his character and ability.
He hasn’t done enough to warrant pushing out Mulholland yet, but with three matches in a week, he is certain to start at some time during this stretch.
For this match, Mulholland probably edges it, but expect Gil to be tightly in the conversation.
Joao Plata or anybody else, really
We can’t stop talking about this, I guess, but Joao Plata’s injury he sustained last week might not have been particularly severe — in fact, we know it wasn’t, because he was back in training this week without issue.
He’s an incredible player, and it shows in the way he operates for us up front. He could be incredibly important against a weakened Seattle back line. Is he ready to get back into the action? I suspect we may find out around, say, the 60th minute.
I don’t know that he starts, but it wouldn’t be the biggest surprise in the world.
These two primary options for the central striker position bring very two very different approaches to the way the game is played. While the answer to this question might be forced by injury (Sandoval’s fitness is in question), we might wonder what the best option for this particular match.
Seattle losing Djimi Traore could play into an argument for Olmes Garcia, who could really torment a less skilled center back. With positive movement, we could open up space for midfielders to run into.
But with Devon Sandoval, we’re able to retain much of our standard tactical outlay, and that’s important to our long-term viability.