Looking toward the start of the 2015 regular season, it's become increasingly apparent that we'll need to look at our forward corps with increasing amounts of scrutiny.
With Joao Plata facing a three to four month absence after a successful surgery to repair a broken fifth metatarsal, the day-one lineup certainly won't include his sprightly play. It's a blow to Real Salt Lake's plans, especially with talk of a three-forward lineup, but it's also a chance for some players to step into more prominent positions.
While Sebastian Jaime and Alvaro Saborio are basically certain-starters, we'll need to look for that third player once again. It'll probably be in a wide position, given that any system playing three central forwards will have a difficult day at the office.
Without too much further ado, here are four players that could find themselves with opportunities in Plata's absence.
Young, fast and exciting: Garcia is the most like-for-like replacement for Joao Plata, although he doesn't necessarily bring with him the same goalscoring virility.
A true wide player, Allen can play anywhere along the right side of the pitch. He's played at forward, he's played at right back -- he could play that position for us, and with Plata out, it's a great chance for him to show what he's capable of.
Despite being a forward, Sandoval isn't a natural wide player. Still, in a pinch, he could be an interesting option in a revised system -- maybe something that could feature a wide target man, perhaps.
He's young and untested, but Sebastian Saucedo is a very skillful attacking player. His best position is still a bit of a mystery, but this could be an opportunity for him to get an early look in to the team in his first year at the club.