The first FIFA international date of the 2015 MLS season has arrived and with it the absence of several key contributors for Real Salt Lake. Therefore, reserve players will get their first start of the season to fill in the squad. Furthermore, after struggling both offensively and defensively this season with the formation change, Jeff Cassar will hope to have worked out some of the bugs during last week's early bye. As a result, expect a RSL squad keen on getting their first win of the season to enter the pitch.
The 4-3-3 experiment will continue as Cassar and his staff prep for the return of Joao Plata. Cassar was quoted saying that Plata is the key to this formation change early this last week, but don't expect the Claret-and-Cobalt to move away from it awaiting his return and 96.6% of fans agree with us.
RSL Soapbox Predicted Lineup:
Attinella; Beltran, Olave, Schuler, Mansally; Morales, Beckerman, Mulholland; Jaime, Sandoval, Garcia.
RSL Soapbox Correct Percentage - 21/22 = 95.5%
Fan Predicted Lineup:
Attinella; Beltran, Olave, Schuler, Mansally (narrowly beating out Phillips with 52%); Morales, Beckerman, Mulholland; Jaime, Sandoval, Garcia.
Fan Correct Percentage - 21/22 = 95.5%
Goalkeeper - Jeff Attinella
RSL's backup keeping will get the start after Nick Rimando was called up to the U.S. National Team. Expect Attinella to slip seamlessly into the lineup and possibly get his first Save of the Week nomination.
Right Back - Tony Beltran
Beltran was the only light in a defense that looked like it was locked in a pitch black room against the Philadelphia Union. Defensive mistakes plagued the RSL backline against the Union but Beltran remained strong both offensively and defensively.
Center Back Pairing- Jamison Olave and Chris Schuler
These players struggled last match against the Union but will almost certainly retain their starting positions. Olave is the only player to score for both sides in a single match in MLS history and Schuler appeared to not be able to make a pass to save his life. Both of these players have hopefully had time to work on their partnership over the bye week and will look for redemption against Toronto FC.
Left Back - Abdoulie Mansally
With Demar Phillips in and out of training with a recurring hamstring issue, Mansally will almost certainly prepare for his second start of the season. Not only will Mansally work to fix his defensive mistakes he made in Portland, he will also work to solidify a leaky RSL back line.
Holding Midfielder - Kyle Beckerman
The dreadlocked skipper is a lock as he did not receive a call up to the national team. Expect Beckerman to be the key in shutting down TFC's Sebastian Giovinco and steadying a shaky RSL defense.
Box-to-Box Midfielder - Luke Mulholland
With Luis Gil gone with the U.S. U-23s, the English midfielder will get his first start of the season. Expect Mulholland to do many of the same things as Gil but to also provide steadier defensive play.
Attacking Midfielder - Javier Morales
The maestro will retain his starting role with the club after being one of the few bright lights against Philly. With Gil gone, Morales will be given a larger attacking role and will likely not be fixed to a spot - becoming more of a roaming threat.
Right Winger - Sebastian Jaime
Jamie, still on the hunt for his first regular season goal with the Claret-and-Cobalt, will get the start on the right wing. Despite falling victim to two quite matches previous, Jamie will have to show that not only he understands the 4-3-3 formation but also that he deserves to be in the lineup with youngster Jordan Allen almost certainly nipping at his heels.
Center Forward - Devon Sandoval
With RSL's go to number nine gone on international duty, Mr. Sandoval will likely get his first start of the season. Expect the Lobos alum to show off his engine and vie for more minutes with the club.
Left Winger - Olmes Garcia
The young Colombian will likely retain his starting position after being the biggest offensive threat on the pitch against both Portland and Philadelphia. Ironically, the young player has often shown a greater understanding of the 4-3-3 than some of his older peers on the squad.
Predicted Bench and Substitutions: RSL Soapbox Correct Percentage - 5/6 = 83.3%
* Jordan Allen
* John Stertzer
* Sebastian Saucedo
* designates predicted substitutes barring injuries or going down a man.
We'd like to know what you think. Do you think we got the starting lineup right? Did we overlook players who you think deserve a start? Did we miss players on the bench? What do you think Cassar has up his sleeves for this match? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.