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RSL has rotation options aplenty ahead of US Open Cup


With little rest between Saturday's match and today's US Open Cup tie, Real Salt Lake will be looking at the rotation options available. With the depth in the squad at an all-time high, getting some of these players minutes will have weighed on Jason Kreis's mind.

It's not likely that we'll see all of these players, as a full rotation wouldn't necessarily help RSL succeed in the cup, but let's take a look at our options.

Goalkeeper: Josh Saunders. Saunders has seen the pitch once already for Real Salt Lake, and while he made a vital error and allowed a goal, he had a generally fine match. It should also give Nick Rimando a much-deserved rest.

Right back: Lovel Palmer. I don't know that anybody expected much from Palmer when he came in, particularly with the noise machine in Portland being positioned firmly against him, but he's been a mostly steady figure in the back when he's made his way out there. He's not quite as attacking as Tony Beltran can be, and he's not quite as defensive as Chris Wingert nearly always is, but his passing and build-up skills out wide are valuable.

Center backs: Kwame Watson-Siriboe, Aaron Maund. Watson-Siriboe is expected to dress for the match after missing out on Saturday, while Maund has yet to play for RSL outside of reserves matches. The two of them could form a good partnership, and we've seen — I believe — a little of that in the reserves.

Left back: Abdoulie Mansally. The Gambian can be a frustrating figure at times, but his attacking bent stretches and pulls opposition defenses; good things tend to happen when the opposition is on the back foot.

Defensive midfielder: 1) Yordany Alvarez. Nobody can really replace Kyle Beckerman, but Alvarez has shown his own qualities out there. He's firm in the tackle — and not nearly as reckless as everyone would like to think (if you don't believe me, take a look at his stats and count the yellow cards. They are few in number.)

2) Enzo Martinez. The youngster still hasn't made an appearance after signing last year, but he went on loan and showed well. This might not necessarily put him in line for a start, but it could help him find his way into the match.

Central midfielders: 1) Sebastian Velasquez. Everyone clamors for more of the sparky kid, and this could be a chance for him to shine. He could always start in the Javier Morales role, but that role might be taken by a less-seen player.

2) Khari Stephenson. The Jamaican doesn't see too much time, but he's been good during his relatively few minutes. This sort of game could be perfectly suited to him.

3) John Stertzer. This rookie hasn't played much, but he showed fairly well early on. More time would serve him well. Scratch that. Stertzer is injured. I knew this, I think.

4) Cole Grossman. If Grossman is fit again after suffering a concussion near the beginning of the season and missing much time, he could see some time.

Attacking midfielder: David Viana. If there was ever a time for Viana to prove something, this is it. He's not high in the rotation list at current, but as a true attacking midfielder who will drift from flank to flank, he could still have an impact for RSL.

Forward: Devon Sandoval. This is one that comes down to injury a bit, but that shouldn't say anything negative about young Sandoval. He's shown very well during his starts this season, and with Alvaro Saborio potentially out again, he should see more time. He should handle defenders with relative ease tonight.