After Wednesday's late collapse, we've all been talking about it: What can we do in the second leg of our CONCACAF Champions League tie to make sure we don't concede goals?
Blame has been relatively easy to come by, as one would readily expect after an important loss. Unsurprisingly, that blame has circled over Jamison Olave, and rightly or wrongly, it's prompting a big question: Should Jeff Cassar give a start to Justen Glad this time around?
That's a hard thing to answer definitively. We might be best off if we take a look through some reasons we might want to see that while balancing things with some reasons we shouldn't.
Do it, Jeff: He's a capable defender
A few times last year, we saw some excellent performances from Justen Glad. He started and played 90 minutes in a 2-0 win over Houston and a 2-1 win over Sporting KC. During those matches, he looked strong, assured, and ready to compete on this team for minutes.
Don't do it yet, Jeff: He's young and inconsistent
The inconsistency of youth is something we must grapple with here: For those great games where Glad stood out, he also played in a 4-0 loss to Vancouver Whitecaps and a 6-4 loss to DC United. While individual games saw good performances from Glad, others saw him struggling to keep the pace. That's not to peg any of those results on him — there were other, more systemic issues at play — but rather to point out that young players are like this. We've seen it over and over, and we'll see it in the future.
Do it, Jeff: We don't have a choice
Real Salt Lake needs a consistent, cerebral defender. They've been itching to get out and sign one, and they've struggled to do so. Without delving to much into that disappointment (and that's not just for us — being very, very close three times is ridiculous), we do know that we have one of those cerebral types at the club: That's Justen Glad. He's not battle-worn, and he's not time-tested — but he is good, and he will be better. If there's any time to start giving a player minutes, it's when you don't have a choice.
On the back of Wednesday's match, it looks like a bit like we may not have a choice at all.
Don't do it, Jeff: Glad needs confidence
Tigres at Rio Tinto Stadium is going to be a tough match, and even if we do start Justen Glad, we're going to have a very difficult time progressing in the group. For all the good Glad could do the team, a loss might do him worse. We don't want to shove a young player head-first into the deep end of the pool — we want to give young players in particular the best chances they can have to succeed, and this wouldn't provide Glad that chance.
So, to answer the question, then: I have no clue. There are compelling reasons to start him, and there are compelling reasons to not. It's a difficult decision, and that's basically the long and the short of it.