Real Salt Lake kicks off their US Open Cup campaign tonight in the fourth round with a home match against Seattle Sounders 2 — the USL affiliate of MLS's Sounders — on the back of a dismal run in form and a moderately long layoff.
Real Salt Lake's predicted lineup lists a pretty first-team one with some major defensive shifts — Jamison Olave is out nursing a strain of some sort, and Elias Vasquez has been on international duty and won't have had the requisite rest (he played yesterday, after all.)
That could leave the lineup featuring a center back pairing that wouldn't be out of place in USL and Real Monarchs of Aaron Maund and Justen Glad. On either side of them is more experience, probably — Tony Beltran and Demar Phillips — but don't be shocked if Beltran's rested and Boyd Okwuonu gets his RSL debut instead.
The midfield they list is a pretty regular MLS one — Beckerman, Gil and Morales — and with it comes an attacking impetus that could pay dividends against a lower league side that will certainly be looking to play very compact But we could also see something like Stertzer, Pecka, and Gil, if that was so desired.
And the attack is also first-choice — Plata, Jaime and Saborio — but there are options there, too. But going out and putting out a first-choice (or as close as injury would allow) lineup against a young S2 side would certainly be a statement, and it's not as if RSL is in the middle of a mid-season glut of games (that part's coming shortly.)
Real Salt Lake predicted lineup
First choice (sort of)
Jeff Attinella; Tony Beltran, Justen Glad, Aaron Maund, Demar Phillips; Kyle Beckerman, Luis Gil, Javier Morales; Joao Plata, Alvaro Saborio, Sebastian Jaime
The big change here is Attinella for Rimando, falling in line with US Open Cup tradition. That's a step down, sure, but it's not a huge step down, and Attinella is very, very good.
Jeff Attinella; Boyd Okwuonu, Justen Glad, Aaron Maund, Demar Phillips; John Stertzer, Pecka, Luis Gil; Sebastian Saucedo, Devon Sandoval, Sebastian Jaime
Seattle Sounders 2 predicted lineup
via Sounder at Heart
Saif Kerawala; Giuliano Frano, Damion Lowe, Nick Miele, Tosh Samkange; Victor Mansaray, Amadou Sanyang, Aaron Long, Sam Garza; Pablo Rossi, Andy Craven