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Luis Gil could be important figure against high-pressure SKC

John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Is there anyone who deserves to be seen as a key player week-in, week-out more than Javier Morales? Probably not at this point, and it hardly seems fair anymore. With that in mind, our key player to watch this match: Luis Gil.

The midfielder is more out-of-sorts than usual, and that's not exactly a positive. And with that, criticism of him is mounting, and it's not looking like it's slowing any time soon. That shouldn't necessarily spell a negative match, though, and there's every chance that Gil could actually be fantastic.

Why, you ask? He's a good possession player. That's the long and the short of it. He's good in tight spaces, he's clean with his passing, and he can dribble around and through attackers. If Sporting KC plays their typical high-pressure style, that sort of contribution will be important for success.

Maybe you don't think he should start — you're allowed. But Real Salt Lake is short of options, and he'd be part of a setup that has actually worked in the past. With a midfield trio of Luke Mulholland and Javier Morales complemented by Luis Gil, you would think that we'd be vulnerable to attacks down the middle. Maybe that'll be the case.

It's easy to forget that Gil has performed fairly well at times this season, despite his obvious mistakes at times. And that's important, because we can't get trapped into this echo chamber of "Gil's awful" talk, because let's be honest: He's not. He might be overpaid, he might be vastly out of form, and he might even not be long for this team. But he's still a good player, and he'll have to show that tonight.

Watch for Gil to help RSL escape the SKC high-press with neat possession play. He'll need to provide smart passing options for Luke Mulholland, who isn't the best at getting out of those high-pressure situations, and he'll need to be able to provide support for Javier Morales in the attack.