Sebastian Jaime hasn't played centrally since July 11, when he earned himself a red card against Colorado Rapids in a dismal 2-1 defeat. But that doesn't mean he won't be there again, and tonight's match against Municipal is a perfect opportunity for him to ply his trade in that key role once again.
Substituted after 55 minutes against D.C. United in what was surely a protective measure ahead of the team's first match in CONCACAF Champions League, Jaime has to be considered a key player ahead of the match.
Why, you ask?
Maybe that's overly simplistic, but Sebastian Jaime playing centrally brings opportunities for goalscoring that can't be overstated. He's been a dangerously effective player in the center, and against a Municipal side that is basically an unknown, by and large, that becomes hugely important.
Real Salt Lake has to take a proactive role, not because they can't play reactively (even though maybe they can't), but because it's very, very difficult to react to unknowns. This is not a side built to react, and we've seen that before.
When we look at Sebastian Jaime's influence on the side, especially when we compare him with Devon Sandoval, we can see that the team builds play differently. With Devon Sandoval, who's going to fill a more traditional hold-up role, we have a style of play that involves retaining possession through a retreating striker interchanging with someone like Javier Morales.
However, with Jaime in the side, play seems to move wide with a bit more frequency. He's less a hold-up player and more a player that's going to receive the ball, then turn and face the opposition. It might not always work out that way, and certainly, Jaime's going to have some hold-up element to his play, but it does underscore the difference between the two.
Preparing for Burrito Martinez
Burrito Martinez, if and when he joins Real Salt Lake, would be plying his trade on the wing, and probably on the right side, especially with Joao Plata taking up the left. Jaime's impressive play in the center probably allows that to transition more smoothly — and that's almost certainly the approach the team will take.
The question then transitions a bit: Who plays on the right side tonight? Is it speedster Olmes Garcia, who could inject some menace to the attack? Is it Jordan Allen, who will be more calm but also dangerous? Or maybe — just maybe — it'll be somebody else entirely, like a Sebastian Saucedo, or even a Luis Gil. I suppose we'll have to wait and find out.