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Midweek Mailbag: Playoffs, veterans, Kreis, defense and more

Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

Tyler Gray (@TylerHGray) asks: how many pts does RSL earn in these final 2 matches and even if they get all 6, is it enough to secure the Supporters Shield?

Barring disaster, we need one point to make the playoffs -- but one point of six available is surely a terrible return. I wrote about the Supporters Shield today in more depth. (

Spencer Ferrero @Stryker1sf asks: Which team do we match up with best and want to play 1st and which team do we want to avoid?
and Matt Shifley asks: I know RSL hasn't locked up a spot yet, but what do you think the best/worst playoff match-up is for the team?

Oh, hmm. That's a hard one. You know, of everyone we've played, I thought we matched up best with Portland -- maybe I'm biased by results, but we tend to fare better against teams that don't try to choke us out of the game. I'd argue that we want to avoid LA Galaxy, as they really seem to have our number (and plenty of other teams' numbers). Ideally, we'd meet Chivas or something, but clearly, that's not an option. There's not really an obvious "easy" team we'd want to play, or a hard one we'd want to avoid, though. That's a bit scary.

Jerrad Pullum @jpullum31 asks: How long do you think it'll be before we move from the veteran core that we have to the new young core we are developing?

I think the team has shown a dedication to moving away slowly from the veteran core and not jettisoning players left and right; we saw the start of that last winter. Some of these players may not have many years left in them, and we'll need to build up options for next year. But if I'm to be honest, I'm not sure who would leave after this year, if anybody. We'll need some new blood -- all teams do -- but maybe we won't need to do much this year. I'd give the whole thing three, maybe four years to play out.

Dan Walker @walkerjrz asks: In defense, do you see the stock rising on Palmer and Schuler? Or is it Salcedo and Wingert's job to lose at this point?

For me, Palmer's stock remains at about the same level, which is "capable backup" level. Schuler's is back where it was before his injury, which is honestly a little remarkable to me, but I think he's showed well enough to stake a claim for the job. I'd say it's still Wingert's job to lose, but Salcedo is probably a little behind Schuler in consideration. Honestly, that's not a bad place to be, and it gives Salcedo further chance develop outside of the limelight and harsh criticisms that roll in unnecessarily and often unjustly.

arthurfelter @arthurfelter asks: What are the tick marks on the outside corner of the field, about 10 yards in?

On a free kick, all defenders must be at least 10 yards from the corner arc -- that's what these marks signify. If you're curious about other markings, FIFA has a good guide:

Stockton Mair asks: First of all, how much wood would a wood chuck chuck if a wood chuck could chuck wood?

Honestly, I'm not an expert in these things, so you're asking the wrong guy. 12? 17? I don't know. Is that close?

On a more serious note, Stockton Mair asks: Second of all, do you think Kreis will sign a contract soon, or at all?
and Benjamin Garn Booth asks: Is winning the MLS Cup a must if Kreis has any chance of staying in Salt Lake?

As for Kreis, I really do hope he stays at the club, and I think he really does want to. But whether he does or doesn't? Ack. I just don't know at this point. Ask me again next week, yeah?

Chad Loveland asks: Matt M err soapbox, what kind of voodoo does RSL need to win the SS? Who is your all time least favorite RSL player? Which current player would be the best at one of the other big 5 sports in the US (basketball, football, baseball, hockey)?

Thankfully, we don't need voodoo, just a bit of luck. Maybe we'll get that this weekend when everyone plays each other.

As far as a least-favorite player, it's not really something I've spent a lot of time thinking about. I can't say we've had a player I really detested, though some certainly seemed more or less useless on the field. But to be fair, I was really excited about Artur Aghasyan, who came and left in the span of a month. Maybe I just get excited easily.

As far as the best at one of the other big sports, I ... hmm. Nick Rimando as a basketball star? If he were taller, maybe. Nat Borchers as some football maven? He's a bit light. I don't really know what it takes to be good at baseball, so let's say ... Chris Wingert, baseball. Or Devon Sandoval, hockey. Those seem good to me. What about you?

On second thought, voodoo would be nice. I'm nervous.