Sebastian Jaime is at Real Salt Lake, and he's been training. I know we're all excited about that, and we're all hopeful now that he'll earn minutes on Saturday against San Jose.
And yes, I'm one of those excited people, and I think we all really should be. Our strike force is good but not great, and he's the caliber of player that has the potential to make it great.
You'll note, of course, that it's just potential. There's no guarantee as yet. Jaime could be the player that transforms our strike force long-term, but he could likewise be a flop. That risk has obviously been mitigated by purposeful action by our coaching staff. Andy Williams has kept tabs on Jaime for a couple years, and you learn a lot about a player watching them over that time.
But back to the more timely discussion: Will Jaime play Saturday? And what can we expect?
Will he play against San Jose?
Probably. Jaime is reportedly fit, he's reportedly really good at soccer (heh), and we're in a position where we could use a striker to either start or come in late. Now, we have Olmes Garcia and Robbie Findley, who are embroiled in a battle to win time next to Joao Plata, with neither really impressing with starts, and both doing a bit better when they come off the bench.
This doesn't necessarily open Jaime up for a start, but it does lend a bit of thought in that general direction.
Will he do well if he does play?
If I knew that, I'd be a millionaire, I suspect. I can guess, but that's only worth so much. He has the right qualities to succeed, and all his statements have been leaning toward 'yes.' He's talked about the team being the star — that's something our staff is adamant about — and that bodes well.
Jeff Cassar has continually talked about Jaime's workrate, and that bodes well, too.
What sort of striker will he be in our system?
It's really tough to say how exactly Jaime shakes out tactically. We've not really had a striker like him — not of a top caliber that isn't a specialist. Alvaro Saborio is a classic number nine, and he plays like one. Fabian Espindola was a striker that started from wide positions constantly. Robbie Findley is a speed-demon and he's adapted his play to work in build-up play. Joao Plata is a tricky little guy, but he's had to adapt his play as well.
He's not a specialist — he's a generalist. Maybe that's what we've been missing all these years. This makes expectations hard to come by — I'm not sure we really know how a striker of his ilk will function in the system. In this way, Jeff Cassar and new assistant coach Ted Eck will have their work cut out for them.