The Real Monarchs open their inaugural USL season against their Los Angeles counterparts, known to many as Los Dos. The LA Galaxy's USL affiliate is now entering its second year in existence and found success making it to the semi-finals their first year in the league. The Monarchs will hope to mirror Los Dos' success but face many more obstacles as the number of clubs in USL has increased significantly.
With many unknowns still lingering about Real Salt Lake's USL affiliate, we will briefly cover what sorts of things we will be keeping an eye on.
What formation do the Monarchs field?
With RSL moving into a new formation this year, many have wondered if the reserve team will continue to play with the same style as the adult team. In the past RSL reserves have used the diamond 4-4-2 to perpetuate the club's system throughout the ranks. With the introduction of USL reserve teams, however, this could be changing.
Despite having the same ownership and sharing many officials between the sides, the Real Monarchs and RSL are two different organizations that play in two different leagues. In other words, what might work well in one league, may not necessary transfer over with the same success to the other league. Watch to see how the coaching staff sets up the Monarchs - will we see the USL side field a 4-3-3 or a more traditional 4-4-2?
Will we see preseason standout players take a large role on the Monarchs squad?
After solid performances with the Claret-and-Cobalt in preseason, players like Ricardo Velasco, Emery Welshman, and Lucas Baldin earned a spot on the Real Monarchs roster. Each of them played important roles in FC Tucson's preseason tournament which saw RSL lift its first every Desert Diamond Cup. Whether it be in the attacking or defending half, these players demonstrated their professionalism and fought for the club. With experience already playing with the RSL senior squad, will these players become something more to the USL side? Will one of these players become the difference maker or step into a leadership position?
What roles do fringe RSL players play for the Monarchs?
Obviously enough, the Real Monarchs have been touted as the new RSL reserve team. In essence, giving players experience in the form of minutes and developmental situations. The league (MLS) has emphasized (and re-iterated) the importance of this USL model. This match will be the first to see how Real Salt Lake utilizes this opportunity in a new reserve system. Through what we will call "short loans," expect the Monarchs to field some of RSL's youth corps. Will we see the likes of Lalo Fernandez, Boyd Okwuonu, Phanuel Kavita, Sebastian Saucedo, and others take the field for the Monarchs? Could one of these players be the difference maker for the fledgling USL side?
We'd like to know what you think. What aspects of this match will you be keeping an eye on? Are there aspects of this match that we overlooked? How does the Real Monarchs performance influence that of RSL? How will the USL reserve system benefit RSL - or MLS for that matter? Share your thoughts in the comments below.