Changes aren't likely to be raining down on the home side, with RSL having gone unbeaten to this point in the season. Seven games — no small feat. It's hardly everything, but maintaining that will be a not-inconsiderable factor in tonight's match.
To get there, we'll have to contend with a great deal of speed on the Vancouver side. Darren Mattocks and Kekuta Manneh — both of whom have played in every match this season, though Manneh as a sub in all but one — are notably quick. Still, it's the sort of problem we face often, so it's good to worry about now.
Indeed, one might say speedy players are some we've historically had trouble with. As an attacking side that's comfortable in possession, we push our back line up with great frequency. It's important to our attacking style, but it does leave us somewhat vulnerable — especially without an Olaveian figure at the back to mop up.
On our side of the ball, Luis Gil could be back — surely, he'll at least make the bench — and Joao Plata could be in line for his first start since exiting a month ago against LA Galaxy.
While I'd certainly love to be certain that we won't see any significant changes to the lineup, I can't be — particularly after last week's Rimando debacle (which wasn't actually a debacle at all) — in which it appeared he'd be out — and notable absences to other players when it seemed they'd be in.
In that case, expect Luke Mulholland/Sebastian Velasquez/Luis Gil to start on the right side of the diamond. Each brings something different to the approach that would benefit our play. Gil's movement is creative and dangerous, both with and without the ball. Velasquez can hold play together when we're in danger of losing our heads. Mulholland has shown a real goalscoring threat to complement a general efficiency to his play.
If Plata is fit and ready to start, expect him to. Olmes Garcia has been steadily improving alongside Alvaro Saborio, but Plata's early season form sets him apart as the sure starter at this point in the season. This, of course, is dependent on fitness.
Every other choice more or less makes itself for Jeff Cassar, whose early reign has been successful, if not wildly so. The question: Why change if what you've been doing has worked?