1. Our academy players are going to be professionals
We had three academy players start the match, and all three of them finished it. A brief overview of those players follows.
Fito Ovalle: Played the base of the diamond and didn't look out of place. His first half impact was strong, and so many times he skipped past players and pushed forward with aplomb. He was easily one of RSL's best players on the day. Last time we saw him go a full match for the reserves, he looked exhausted at the end. That was less the case this time -- he managed his output well.
Diego Silva: Generally a left-sided player, Silva started in the midfield and was involved in build-up play. He switched to right back when Rich Balchan came off, and while he didn't get forward as often as he might have had he been there from the outset, but he fared acceptably in that spot.
Sebastian Saucedo: He was best when he dropped into the midfield to pick up the ball, but he wasn't at his best against the Seattle Sounders defense.
2. Luis Gil is ready for more first-team minutes
There are few midfielders in our system who can manage the top of the diamond without looking overrun -- even in reserves matches. Luis Gil is one of those, and he showed exactly that. He wasn't at his most creative, but he retained possession and got into dangerous spots over and over. He was unfortunately reluctant to shoot, though, which is something that he has improved upon in the past. That should come back to him with minutes.
I wouldn't be at all surprised to see Luis Gil start this weekend against Seattle or in Columbus during the midweek match, given this performance. We'll likely need rotation -- Luke Mulholland looks gassed after 60 minutes with a week between matches.
3. Abdoulie Mansally is a left back fit for our system
He might sometimes be a liability, and he might have a fair bit of risk in some of his tackles, but Abdoulie Mansally is swiftly becoming the perfect left back for our system. Looking at even a year ago, he's developed tremendously -- not every tackle seems a red card in waiting, he gets back at the right times, and he better understands the tactical outlay.
The number of chances he created solely on his own should speak volumes. Chris Wingert is a solid left back, but having Mansally as an attacking option will do us favors.