We're all sitting here incredibly excited (or some other synonymous feeling) about the arrival of Burrito Martinez to Real Salt Lake, starting him on Saturday seems miles away from what we should be doing.
And it's not because he's potentially not awesome, and it's certainly not that he's not bedded in with the team well enough — although that might be a concern, it's the sort of thing that's solved by playing, not by, well, not playing.
It's almost entirely because of one man: Luis Silva. We've obviously been talking about him a lot in the last week, and rightly so. He's had two excellent matches against Portland Timbers and Seattle Sounders, respectively, in the last two weeks, and his performances have been coupled with a tactical shift that's served the team.
Silva, not a primary playmaker by any stretch with Javier Morales playing centrally, does just enough to offset the load on RSL's long-tenured midfielder. While a reasonable portion of that load remains — particularly in creating chances — opponents are now forced to focus on at least two playmakers, and certainly three when Joao Plata drops deep.
Jeff Cassar should opt for Luis Silva not because change would disrupt the team right now, but because what we've seen is the best we've looked. And while we'd probably also look fantastic with a player streaming down the wing and attacking players, there's uncertainty there. Luis Silva could cope with being dropped for a new designated player (although one might wonder what long-term effects that could have with our potential desire to keep him in MLS), but it's not even that.
Real Salt Lake thrives when the team isn't allowed to play conservatively, or to simply hoof the ball long and hope a forward gets on the end of it somehow. While that's not necessarily what we'd see with Burrito in the side, it's the case that Silva has helped us to escape that tendency. Having two playmakers demanding the ball puts us in a position where not taking the necessary precautions to keep possession is entirely impalpable.
As Real Salt Lake readies for FC Dallas, Jeff Cassar's going to be faced with the question, and with any luck, Luis Silva will get the start again. And if none of that tips the scales, let's just think about what it could mean to have a high-calibre forward coming off the bench in the 70th minute as Dallas's legs have been worn down by 5,000 passes. Just think about it.