Real Salt Lake’s probably going to be missing two of its starters again this week, and this time, we’re looking toward the attack. Jordan Allen and Joao Plata haven’t trained this week, leaving them unlikely to start, at the very least.
That’s even more likely after Jeff Cassar said he was looking for players to be 100 percent fit.
“What we need to get back to, is when you step on the field, you’re 100 percent,” Cassar said. “Anything less isn’t good enough. We have to get these players back to optimal fitness.”
So what does that leave Real Salt Lake with on Saturday? For one, we can assume that neither Plata nor Allen get a start, and I’d assume that at this point, at least Allen isn’t on the bench. We’ll need to conscript two attacking players. Who might they be?
This is the easy one, simply because he started last week. Sure, I don’t really remember what he did in that match, but he looked pretty alright in preseason, and we have every reason to expect that he’ll be given the opportunity against LA Galaxy. Silva’s going to be move the right wing spot into a direction that’s more midfield-oriented than attack-oriented, and that might not be a bad thing. Look for him to interchange with Tony Beltran around the base of the attacking third a few times.
I’d really like to see Velazco get a start. He came on for Jordan Allen last match, getting 64 minutes under his belt and looking generally well-involved. That’s a feat for a player that just made his way up from Real Monarchs in September. At every asking, he’s shown he can do good things. Let’s give him the opportunity.
He’s young, raw and impressively talented, but that doesn’t always make for a start against LA Galaxy. But with RSL in need, Lennon could be looked to for a start on the wing, where he impressed most for the academy and for the U-20s recently. Adding a wrinkle is that he’s been more or less a central striker for Liverpool’s U-23s — does that play a role? I doubt it. I don’t expect he’ll start, but do look for him to come off the bench.
An outside pick here, Holness is certainly more of a midfielder, but he’s played on the wing to good effect. He might not be asked to deputize there, but if he is, look for him to be not too dissimilar from Luis Silva.
Stealthy Edit: Sebastian Saucedo
Editor’s note: I forgot Saucedo. My apologies.
Somehow, Sebastian Saucedo slipped my mind, but he’s a strong candidate for this position — but right now, it’s difficult to say where he exists in relation to Brooks Lennon. Certainly, on the U.S. U-20s, he was behind him — is that the case for RSL, too? I suspect he has a chance to make the bench.