Match Preview: Kreis left with decisions to make ahead of second leg against Portland

Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

Jason Kreis has been left with a few key decisions to make for this second leg. Ned Grabavoy is again fit, and Chris Wingert and Alvaro Saborio are both out. Who starts in their places?

Left back -- Palmer, Mansally or Balchan: Lovel Palmer. This one's a simple one. Chris Wingert is out with a broken rib (the luck that guy has), and Lovel Palmer played quite well in the first leg against Portland. There should be no hesitation from Jason Kreis.

Central midfield -- Velasquez or Grabavoy: My gut's going with Ned Grabavoy on this one. It's harsh on Sebastian Velasquez to drop him, and Jason Kreis has said as much. But while Velasquez has earned a spot in the last few matches, Ned Grabavoy has essentially earned a spot all season. While the decision is a difficult one when we're talking about the short-term, the longer-term matters every bit as much, and had Grabavoy not been injured, he'd have started our last few matches instead of Velasquez. Counterfactuals are tricky things, obviously, so we won't ask ourselves what those matches would have looked like with the change.

Striker -- Sandoval, Garcia, Plata or none of the above: Devon Sandoval certainly deserves more minutes after his role in the 4-2 demolition of Portland, but unlike our previous case in central midfield, the player whose spot he is currently occupying is definitely out. Sandoval becomes an easy option, then, and his recent performances should render us filled with confidence about that fact. The other option that I could see happening -- but that does not seem very likely -- is Jason Kreis opting for a different tactical look. While we have displayed some tactical flexibility throughout the season, it's never much compelled me to think that we could genuinely take a different approach.

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