After Luke Mulholland scored against Toronto FC on Sunday, Luis Gil's playing time was a hot topic of discussion. The big question: Would Gil continue getting starts if Mulholland finds goalscoring form?
We talked earlier about three things we could do to enable more chance creation, and one element of our focus was on getting the forwards and midfielders connecting. What if there was an easier way to do that?
Getting playing time for Luis Gil is one of the more important goals for the coaching staff this year, especially if we are going to pay him a pretty penny. We have, I think, a responsibility to try to get the best out of Gil, if just because he's using up a disproportionate amount of the salary cap.
With that in mind, there might be a path to getting him more playing time, keeping a goalscoring Luke Mulholland in the team, and solving for the tactical disconnectedness between the forwards and the midfield. With our forwards struggling, maybe one of the wide players could be replaced by Luis Gil in a hybrid winger role. It's something you sometimes see with other implementations of the 4-3-3 — although typically you might call them 4-2-3-1s or something similar — where one of the forwards is replaced with a more creative attacking player.
Ideally, Joao Plata fits that bill. He's creative and a good possession player, but he's also a fantastic goalscorer. He's lethal. Without Plata, the system looks like it's missing something important — because it is, really.
Interestingly, Gil might be the closest player to replacing Plata's tactical import. It's less about goalscoring (although we're excited to see that) and more about finding creative balance. With Javier Morales shouldering almost all of the creative workload on the team right now, having another player in advanced positions that can help with that could be exactly what RSL needs to get things moving properly.
Would it work perfectly? Probably not. But with Plata still out for at least a few weeks longer, maybe we can start to get a sense of how we play with a creative outlet in a wide position.