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Cassar likely to kick off the 2015 season with his anticipated starting XI

Who starts in Saturday's first regular season match pitting Real Salt Lake against the Portland Timbers? We’ve got our ideas, and here to share them with you is contributing writer Weston Jenson.

Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports


So the preseason is over and the collective bargaining agreement is in place; it's time for some MLS!  As the first regular season expect head coach Jeff Cassar to field the strongest team possible.  With Joao Plata's injury and Demar Phillips possible hamstring tightness, we could see RSL give some starts to reserve members of the squad.  That being said, expect Real Salt Lake to rely heavily on its starting XI players.  The experiments ended with preseason, so expect an RSL squad that wants to start off the year with some points.  In any case, we are going to give it a try and explain our reasoning.


After a successful preseason fielding it, expect the Cassar to set up the starting XI in an attacking 4-3-3 formation - and 87% of fans agree with us.  This will be his go to formation for the 2015 season, so get used to seeing it utilized in MLS matches.  Despite the success that RSL has found in recent years with the diamond 4-4-2 against the Portland Timbers, RSL players are becoming more comfortable with the new formation and will want to use it for its attacking strengths - especially in the hostile environment of Providence Park.

Predicted Line-Up

RSL Soapbox and Fan Predicted Lineup

All with over 80% of votes expect Phillips with 65%

Rimando; Beltran, Olave, Schuler, Phillips; Morales, Beckerman, Gil; Jaime, Saborio, Garcia.

Goalkeeper - Nick Rimando

The veteran net minder will take his position in between the posts for the first regular season match.

Right Back - Tony Beltran

Beltran is quickly becoming a leader amongst the RSL back line.  Expect the RSL original to get the start and stabilize the back line.

Center Back Pairing- Jamison Olave and Chris Schuler

Starting the premier center back pairing of Olave and Schuler is a no brainer.  With scoring threats like Fanendo Adi getting the start for Portland, expect this defensive pair to be in for a physical match.

Left Back - Demar Phillips

Ok so there has been some discussion to whether or not Phillips is ready to go, but we expect Phillips to start the match for the first time in claret and cobalt.  Look to Phillips as he gets into the attack as well as battles to out-fox the young talent of Darlington Nagbe.

Holding Midfielder - Kyle Beckerman

Another no brainer.  The skipper will take up his usual role in the midfield proving solid defensive play and cutting over-head passes.

Box-to-Box Midfielder - Luis Gil

Gil will get his first start of the season after taking a larger role at the club in the off season.  Expect Gil to be given more privileges in the attacking half against an already injury ridden Portland midfield.

Attacking Midfielder - Javier Morales

The maestro will take up his usually spot in the driver's seat of RSL.  Expect the veteran to fall a little deeper into the midfield, however, as Luis Gil gets a chance to become the offensive spark for RSL during this match.

Right Winger - Sebastian Jaime

After an impressive preseason, Jaime will get the start on the right wing.  After his first preseason with the Claret-and-Cobalt, expect Jamie to be goal hungry - and do not be surprised if he nets one in the first match of the season.

Center Forward - Alvaro Saborio

RSL's go to number nine will obviously get the start for the Claret-and-Cobalt after a solid preseason.

Left Winger - Olmes Garcia

The dominate performance against the Rapids secured Garica's spot in the starting XI against the Timbers.

Predicted Bench

* Jordan Allen

Jeff Attinella

Abdoulie Mansally

* Luke Mulholland

Boyd Okwuonu

* Devon Sandoval

Sebastian Saucedo

* designates predicted substitutes barring injuries or going down a man.