A handful of players have been called in for the international break, in which the biggest attraction is probably a friendly send-off for one Landon Donovan.
Rather than aimlessly fret about the absences that will certainly not make the goings easier for us, let's talk about the replacements we have, and maybe we can talk about why there's reason for encouragement. Or at least a somewhat sunnier disposition about things.
Nick Rimando will be gone, and Jeff Attinella's a lock to step in. There's a gulf in quality there, but it's not one of those huge gulfs, or one that's particularly worrying. While Nick Rimando is the best goalkeeper in MLS (maybe the best of the last five years, too), Jeff Attinella could be a starter on a number of MLS sides. So, right, no huge worry there.
Chris Schuler could be out after suffering a broken nose as a result of a massive beard collision on Sunday, which hurts us. Schuler has been consistent and quality nearly every time he's touched the ball, and playing without him is hardly preferable. But play without him we must. But before we discuss his replacement, let's talk about Carlos Salcedo, because he'll also be gone.
So, yeah, Carlos Salcedo will be absent through U-21 international duty, which is a nice plaudit for him, but we'd probably like to have him here to play. With Schuler in doubt, Salcedo would've been a lock to start at center back. As a result, Aaron Maund is an option to start defensively.
Tony Beltran's still perhaps a doubt with a herniated disc giving him back woes, which makes things all the more difficult to plan. Normally Carlos Salcedo could be an option at right back, but instead, we may be looking at Rich Balchan, who would be looking for redemption following an awful showing. Alternately, we could switch Chris Wingert to the right and play Abdoulie Mansally, but that didn't go particularly well last time, or we could play Justen Glad at right back for his first professional appearance of his very, very young career.
Javier Morales will be out through yellow-card accumulation, which hurts our attack. Normally, I'd advocate replacing him with Luis Gil, but he'll be gone, too. Good for him — he hasn't played a whole lot recently, but it's nice to see Jurgen Klinsmann making a positive decision there. So it looks increasingly like we'll be starting Sebastian Velasquez at the top of the diamond, which should be interesting. We could also see someone like Ned Grabavoy there, though, with Cole Grossman in his space. So there are certainly options.
We'll be missing both Alvaro Saborio and Joao Plata up top, both of whom are on full international duty. That's nice for them, particularly for Saborio, who needs more minutes to shake off the dust from his shooting foot. That doesn't leave us particularly short, but it does give us a point to wonder about who to play. We'll almost certainly see Sebastian Jaime start, and I'd somewhat expect Robbie Findley to be handed a start as well.
If you didn't catch all that, here's a predicted lineup. It's not pretty.
Attinella; Beltran(?), Borchers, Maund, Wingert; Beckerman, Grabavoy, Mulholland, Velasquez; Findley, Jaime
Subs: Fernandez, Balchan, Mansally, Glad, Grossman, Garcia, Sandoval