Finally, after weeks of torture, Real Salt Lake returns to action at Rio Tinto in US Open Cup play against Wilmington Hammerheads.
Through the long road stretch Jeff Cassar made a point to rotate players to save legs for the rest of the season. Take a look at the schedule and you’ll see that congested over the next 8-10 weeks is probably an understatement.
Typically the USOC is seen as an opportunity to get some of the younger players or players who haven’t seen a lot of first team minutes some run in a meaningful competition. Having rested players on and off in the last 3 games there’s a lot of possible options for Cassar to run out in the first game of RSLs Open Cup run. I would expect there to be changes on each line, and based off some information I came across today it will be a very mixed line up with 6-7 starters in the 11 for RSL.
At this point in the tournament RSL are in a good position to field a mixed squad and still get a result. That said it’s important that whatever the group on the field there needs to be a solid mix of experience and youth to go out and get 3 points.
Here are some players we think could make an appearance:
Devon Sandoval – Devon has quietly been a really solid sub for Cassar. He comes in and does exactly what he needs to; holds the ball well and makes dangerous runs to open up space for Burrito, Plata, or Javier. Expect him to start at the point of the attack.
Jordan Allen – Jordan has deserved a start for some time. It’s been hard to make a place for him with how the starting 11 has played. His creativity and impact on the ball could be a huge boon to an RSL squad without some of the impact players. Jordan is a wing player and if he starts he will likely be on either the right or left wing.
Omar Holness – Hear me out. Holness is the truth. If you haven’t been paying attention to Monarchs this season, he is one of the many reasons you should be paying attention. Holness could come in to start, and it would be a shocker, and would pair with either Luke or Stertzer in one of the defensive midfielder spots.
Danilo Acosta – This may seem like another long shot but Danilo Acosta, though young, has shown some real promise since his time in the academy and could push to see minutes against USL opponents in the Open Cup.
As always look for RSL to come out in a 4-3-3 and to play to absorb and counter with spats of possession throughout.
The important thing with this match is to go through. There is absolutely no reason for RSL to go out early in this competition. There have been, and will be more, tests of depth for RSL thus far this season. This is probably the best opportunity to help improve the depth or the play of 12-25 on the roster with real meaningful minutes in a competitive match.
Even with the rotation that we are guaranteed to see from Cassar, the bench will need to have some striking power and experience on the bench. If they don’t start, as I am guessing they won't, expect Plata and Yura to come off the bench quickly if things go sideways.