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RSL, Monarchs connection bringing first-team depth chart into view

Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Real Monarchs have featured Real Salt Lake first-teamers on each of their three matches now, and it's given some light to Real Salt Lake's depth chart.

Real Monarchs coach Freddy Juarez has coached all but one of these players (and that's Boyd Okwuonu) during his time at RSL's Arizona academy, which gives some food for thought as we look to fully integrate our academy system into the organization.

"The group that has come in has been great. They've been very open-minded to it, they've helped us. And it's helping them as well. We've had guys training and it's guys that we've coached at the Academy so they understand the system. I think it's more the timing because it's early in the season. The more games together, the better we'll look." -Freddy Juarez, Real Monarchs coach

We'll picking out a few of these players to talk about in relation to the first team, with the really noticeable part being that they're at the bottom of the chart, each one of them. But they're each not too far off, either — an injury to one or two players and they could see themselves thrust into the limelight.

Lalo Fernandez

In two matches with Monarchs, Lalo has looked comfortable and a step above most USL-level goalkeepers. As the third-string goalkeeper for Real Salt Lake, keeping him ready in the event of catastrophe is helpful. By asserting himself well at this level, he's asserting himself well in his RSL position, too.

RSL depth chart: Rimando, Attinella, Fernandez

Boyd Okwuonu

Okwuonu has already shown that he's comfortable in Real Salt Lake's system, which is especially useful because he's not likely to get many minutes at that level. If Tony Beltran makes the Gold Cup roster again, he could find himself involved, and being ready might stave off the nervousness that can come with a first-team debut.

RSL right back depth chart: Beltran, Allen, Okwuonu

Phanuel Kavita

After a steady four years with Clemson, Kavita's already looking steady at Real Monarchs. His primary concern will be staying alert so that if one of Chris Schuler or Jamison Olave goes down with injury, he's considered at least an option in their stead. Anything beyond that will be a little surprising, with Elias Vasquez performing well at an international level and not having had his RSL chance to this point.

RSL center back depth chart: Olave, Schuler, Vasquez, Maund, Kavita

Fito Ovalle

It'll be hard to find minutes for Ovalle in the near future at Real Salt Lake, especially with Pecka returning from injury in recent weeks. Real Monarchs will be the best way for him to improve his usefulness to the first team, and in a year or two, he might be at a point where he can be seen as a first-team player. But without significant improvement, the depth just makes it tough for him, even if he wouldn't fare too badly.

RSL defensive midfield depth chart: Beckerman, Pecka, Stertzer, Ovalle

Sebastian Saucedo

He's something of an unknown, this Saucedo kid, because he might have exactly what it takes to succeed in this system for Real Salt Lake. He's fast, intelligent, and can send in excellent passes. But he needs first to show that with Real Monarchs, because that allows Jeff Cassar and his coaching staff to have the confidence in him to get him meaningful minutes in matches. He's already made his first-team debut, though, and maybe minutes aren't too far behind.

RSL wide forward depth chart: Plata, Jaime, Garcia, Allen, Saucedo