After going undefeated in the first three matches of 2016, RSL will face its toughest test yet at Sporting Park next weekend. The team will be without three of their starters for the away match due to suspensions from the clash with Portland last Saturday.
Kyle Beckerman was sent off in the 31st minute against the Timbers for a tackle on Fanendo Adi in midfield. He had been previously warned for a foul, but hadn't been shown yellow at that point in the match.
Jamison Olave also saw straight red and gave Portland a penalty in the 83rd minute while grappling with Adi in the box. Down to 9 men, RSL finished out the game 2-2.
After the match, Burrito Martinez was suspended for one match for a tackle on Darlington Nagbe in the 95th minute. This leaves a hole at defense, midfield, and forward for RSL going into a difficult away match.
Who will start in the place of the three suspended players? There are a few obvious options that Cassar may choose. For Olave, the next center back on the roster is young Justen Glad, who has made six appearances so far for RSL. In midfield, it would be surprising if Luke Mulholland isn't given the nod to play alongside Sunny and Morales.
Olmes Garcia is probably the best option off the bench to replace Burrito, but is still trying to get fit after suffering an ankle sprain. Other options up top could be Emery Welshman or possibly Jordan Allen, even though he has been training mostly at CAM leading up to this season. Sandoval is the other forward on the roster, but is much more suited as a target man than a winger.
Seeing younger players getting a chance to prove themselves is always fun. The game will be challenging to win away from home against SKC, who have won three straight matches to start the season. But the game will give fans a good look at the future of RSL, who have one of the oldest teams in MLS. Win, lose, or draw, it will be a great test of the squad's resilience early in the season.