Well I have never heard a coach or GM say, "well we are going to play but we really don't care", so I am not surprised that in his recent piece for the floundering majorleaguesoccer.com (of the humorous url of mlssoccer.com) that Randy Davis lead off with:
When asked independently about what Real Salt Lake wants to accomplish with their Open Cup qualifying matches, GM Garth Lagerwey and coach Jason Kreis are perfectly in sync: "We want to win."
Randy goes on to cover the fact that winning is part of the culture of winning championships that everyone at RSL is proclaiming. That being said, I said before that I believe the mix of starters and bench players will be there once again, and with the two injuries suffered against Seattle (Grabavoy 4-6 weeks, Morales day to day) (a shame you can't find updates anywhere on the MLS or RSL websites) but they did a quick preview of the match realsaltlake.com
So while I agree that winning is important and I firmly believe that RSL is actually 18-19 players deep and tonight will give them a chance to prove that. I do think heading into the weekend matchup with the LA Galaxy that priorities have to be set, and for me the Galaxy are a much bigger target than is the qualifying process of the US Open Cup.
OK, I just heard on KALL 700 what I think is the starting lineup for RSL tonight,
Wingert - Borchers - McKenzie- Beltran
Alexandre - Gonzalez - Johnson - Warner
Saborio - Findely
Bench: Beckerman, Russell, Espindola, Campos, Gil, and Rimando
remember that is the place to get both the prematch coverage and the play by play of tonight's match. you can listen to them via their iphone appor online, or you can use that old fashioned radio thing.
My match thoughts after the jump:
So you can take the 3-0 win on opening weekend and toss it out the window, as the starting 11's for both teams will be likely about 50-60% bench players this time around. A big thing to remember is that teams are allowed 4 subs in the qualifying matches.
I think you will likely see San Jose come out with a few more starters in their lineup as they are the home team and want to prove that the opening day loss wasn't a true reflection of their talent level. Add in their recent signing of Scott Sealy, a former quake who spend the last couple years playing overseas in Israel, could we also see Omar Jasseh? Jasseh is a 17 yr old from Gambia who recently was with Crystal Palace FC, he tried out with TFC last year but now lands in San Jose and he could be a great boost to their midfield. I am sure we will see Ike Opara, who has been the most impressive of the rookie class of 2010 in my opinion.
For RSL a number of players didn't make the trip to San Jose and this will allow us a first look (OK a first listen) at Beltran, Alexandre, and Warner this year. I think we will learn something tonight, we know that RSL has been able to show that they are 15 deep so far this year, but with those 3 guys would move us to 18 deep, if Gil and Campos can get in and show they have the quality to be part of the top tier we could be looking at a 20 deep team which would be huge for US Open Cup and CONCACAF.
I think RSL has more depth than San Jose and will likely be able to show it tonight, I was very impressed with the minutes Nelson Gonzalez had against Seattle, and I think the combination of Findley and Saborio could be lethal. If RSL can keep San Jose off the board early (where they had issues in Seattle last year), then the quality of RSL should be enough for a 2-1 win tonight.
OFF MY SOAPBOX