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Five formations RSL might explore ahead of 2015 season

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We keep talking about Real Salt Lake looking at a 4-3-3 in 2015, but there are more options than just one. Let's explore five options for the club in 2015.

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For each formation, we'll list potential primary and secondary lineups — there might be repeated players, but it's to illustrate the versatility each formation could provide. Of note: We're also thinking about a few years of continuity here, so don't let that distract from the evaluations.

4-2-3-1

This might be the most sensible formation for Real Salt Lake to explore, but don't let the band of three attacking midfielders confuse you: The wide players in the formation can be out-and-out wingers, inverted wingers, attacking midfielders, or even forwards capable in wide positions. This would get wide attackers involved heavily, and it could be an interesting setup because of that. It fits our squad quite well.

You might sometimes see this described as a 4-3-3, but we've separated that out — you'll see why.

Potential lineup: Rimando; Beltran, Schuler, Olave, Phillips; Beckerman, Pecka; Plata, Gil, Jaime; Saborio

Secondary lineup: Attinella; Okwuonu, Vasquez, Kavita, Phillips; Stertzer, Mulholland; Mansally, Morales, Allen; Sandoval

4-3-3

This is the one that's been popularly discussed, and it varies largely from the 4-2-3-1 in the setup of the midfield and the flexibility of the wide forward roles. Of course, this difference is largely about describing the ways formations function and not necessarily a prescriptive concern — you could play a 4-3-3 in much the same way.

Potential lineup: Rimando, Beltran, Schuler, Olave, Phillips; Beckerman, Mulholland, Gil; Plata, Saborio, Jaime

Secondary lineup: Attinella, Owkuonu, Vasquez, Kavita, Mansally; Pecka, Stertzer, Morales; Garcia, Sandoval, Allen

4-4-2

Obviously the number of ways this can be played is quite wide and varied, but in this case, we should be looking at continuing with the diamond. There are a number of advantages to this one, and we've talked about that quite a lot, but we should also look at the disadvantages. The big one? We can't get our forward line deployed as efficiently as we might otherwise, and it's famously difficult to fit wide players in the formation.

We're also a bit lacking in the midfield for this approach at current.

Potential lineup: Rimando; Beltran, Schuler, Olave, Phillips; Beckerman, Mulholland, Gil, Morales; Saborio, Plata

Secondary lineup: Attinella; Okwuonu, Kavita, Vasquez, Mansally; Pecka, Stertzer, Allen, Gil; Jaime, Garcia

3-5-2

We're finally starting to get into the more obscure formations here, and the 3-5-2 — while once widely used, it's not nearly as popular now. Chile used a variation of the 3-5-2 during their World Cup run with some success. The key here is that the wide defense comes from two wing backs — and our two left backs are quite astute going up the wing.

Add in the fact that we have five center backs, three of whom will be vying for minutes from the get-go.

Potential lineup: Rimando; Schuler, Olave, Kavita; Phillips, Mulholland, Beckerman, Gil, Beltran; Saborio, Plata

Secondary lineup: Attinella; Kavita, Vasquez, Maund; Mansally, Stertzer, Pecka, Morales, Allen; Sandoval, Jaime

3-4-3

Here's where it all gets a little weird. A 3-4-3 — so four midfielders and three forwards — can be a bit of a nutty lineup, and it's one that comes with some risk. Imagine defending with a lineup like this — it doesn't look pretty sometimes. Our wide players wouldn't be anywhere in the midfield, but up front. That's probably the most problematic piece.

Potential lineup: Rimando; Schuler, Olave, Kavita; Mulholland, Beckerman, Pecka, Gil; Jaime, Saborio, Plata

Secondary lineup: Attinella; Kavita, Vasquez, Maund; Stertzer, Pecka, Gil, Morales; Garcia, Sandoval, Allen