Real Salt Lake’s injury list has been in a miserable state of flux this season, with important players out in our first two matches — and that’s definitely going to continue.
We wrote earlier this week about Jordan Allen and Joao Plata likely being out, and it seems pretty clear that’s going to lead to some young, talented players getting starts. Exactly who? That’s hard to say.
The latest from Salt Lake Tribune scribe Chris Kamrani has RSL coach Jeff Cassar saying he’ll be looking at Brooks Lennon, Ricardo Velazco and Sebastian Saucedo.
"We're going to have Brooks and Bofo and Ricardo in there with Yura," he said. "It's going to be young, it's going to be energetic and when they get the opportunities, they've got to seize them."
That article also indicates that David Horst is dealing with a knee issue, but he wasn’t ruled out from playing. With Aaron Maund and Chris Schuler back in full training, we could be just fine — but we could also end up with Chris Wingert and Justin Schmidt as the center back pairing.
It’s particularly interesting that Cassar goes after those three names — it’s not clear exactly what he meant by that, whether they’re just options or part of the starting four. Clearly, he wouldn’t always want to play his hand so out in the open, but one does wonder if there’s a chance that Albert Rusnak could be sat on the bench in favor of that starting group.
The real value there? It’s about connections. All three of those players have time together, and if you’re starting Brooks Lennon and Ricardo Velazco, you sure could look at giving Sebastian Saucedo an opportunity in the center. It could be an opportunity to give all three a chance to make a collective mark. It could equally be a bit of gamesmanship from Cassar, and that Rusnak’s going to start, and one or three of those players could come off the bench. But “we’re going to have” does read as a particularly clear-cut sentence, doesn’t it?
Maybe with Rusnak out next week with Slovakia, it makes sense to start giving these players opportunities now, allowing the team the best opportunity to mesh with a reduced-capacity lineup.
But my truly favorite theory, of course, is that we want to show LA Galaxy that you can succeed with a mostly homegrown attack — which seems like a weird thing to do, but you never know, right?