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RSL looking to gain leg up on volatile LA Galaxy with first-choice lineup


Real Salt Lake, looking to continue in the top spot in MLS, face LA Galaxy today in the first of yet another three-games-in-a-week sprint, during which they will also face Portland Timbers and Columbus Crew.

Jason Kreis's thinking won't be on those other two as yet, and with five days until the next one, there's little reason it should play into his squad decisions. As such, one might expect Kreis to deploy a first-choice choice lineup — though what exactly that means is certainly up for debate.

With the injuries fading from concern, save those out in the long-term, selection again becomes slightly difficult. Picking Nat Borchers' partner at the back has been made easier by the ever-exciting play of Carlos Salcedo, who has been stronger than most would have expected. Picking the midfield is still difficult after the always solid trio of Beckerman, Grabavoy and Morales. Picking a partner up top for Alvaro Saborio remains as difficult as ever, but Robbie Findley should get the nod again. It is to our benefit that we are forced to deal with uncertainty in who plays on any given day: The choices aren't because players are looking poor, but because they're looking quite good.

LA Galaxy have been in a bit of a mixed spot, having drawn their last match despite a Landon Donovan hat trick against FC Dallas, and having lost their match against Colorado Rapids the preceding match. But RSL is recovering from bad spell themselves, winning their last match 1-0 over Houston Dynamo but struggling against Colorado Rapids (2-2), New York Red Bulls (3-4) and Sporting Kansas City (1-2).

Tactically, not much is likely to deviate from RSL's norms. There's every reason to think we'll return to a 4-4-2, where the defensive shape will be as beneficial as the attacking one. LA Galaxy present some real danger to RSL, but that danger is difficult to counter from a tactical perspective. The presence of Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan rather means that any poor moment could be exploited, as they are two players who can spring at any moment. Of interest will be keeping them quiet, but it's a difficult proposition to do so and remain proactive in approach.

Predicted lineup: Rimando; Beltran, Borchers, Salcedo, Wingert; Beckerman, Grabavoy, Gil, Morales; Saborio, Findley.

About as first-choice as you could hope for.