Real Salt Lake takes on San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday, and we're going to see a few changes in the lineup. While we're not here to talk about the lineup — Weston already did that with aplomb — we are wondering about one particular piece of it, and one player who, after scoring his first professional goal in outstanding, dramatic fashion, might just get the nod.
In a roundabout way, we're just asking the question: Does Jordan Allen get his first start? But in a less roundabout way, we're staking a claim that he might deserve it.
With Luke Mulholland looking like a sure-fire starter in the midfield on Sunday, Luis Gil almost certainly won't be in the midfield on Sunday. With Sebastian Jaime out, an opening on the right side could give him that opening, but will the continually impressive Allen be given the opportunity?
Gil is coming off of international duty, which normally isn't a big deal. But that international duty took him across Europe, playing first against Bosnia and Herzegovina, then against Denmark. That's a lot of miles on young legs, and while it probably wouldn't kill him to play, it might not be the most optimal situation.
Real Salt Lake isn't in a position where starting Gil is a necessity. Mulholland has shown reasonably well, and Allen is in a good, upward-trending position. Both of those players deserve minutes, and that's not a slight against Gil.
Allen is also a natural player for that right-sided forward role, and while we advocated earlier in the week for a look at Gil in that spot as an opportunity to try something new, there's also a sensible position that Cassar wants to keep working on the formation as it's intended to work. It's hard to blame him for that one.
Allen's goal last weekend wasn't born out of luck or a wholehearted desire to do well for the team. Those things are temporary and ineffectual in the grand scheme — they're incidental to player. That's not to say that Allen doesn't "bleed for the team" or what have you, but rather to illustrate that he's a lot more than just that.
Instead, Allen's goal came from getting the basics right: He spots a good pass to Devon Sandoval, he continues his run, and he makes clean, effective contact with the ball. You can't ask for anything more than that.
So should Allen be getting his first start for Real Salt Lake before even playing 90 minutes for the club in his career? He's made it increasingly hard to say no.