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Five RSL players that need to play against Sacramento Republic

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Who can help RSL move to the next round of the US Open Cup?

MLS: Houston Dynamo at Real Salt Lake Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

We’ve already talked about some Real Monarchs players that could feature in the US Open Cup against Sacramento Republic — but who from the first-team should be getting a start?

RSL coach Mike Petke has already intimated that some of the team’s veterans won’t be traveling. That makes sense — they were always likely to be saved for Saturday’s MLS match against Minnesota United.

“If it’s definitely been trying, sitting down and deciding who is going to be involved in this tournament,” he told reporters on Monday.

“We have also guys traveling with us who are perhaps not getting the minutes they want.”

Jordan Allen

I don’t think it’s any surprise that Jordan Allen is at the top of this list. He’s yet to play for Mike Petke, with his two appearances coming under Jeff Cassar. Injuries kept him from appearing, and he even made an appearance with Real Monarchs, although he was substituted out of that one in the 44th minute with an injury that kept him out just a little longer.

Obviously, there are questions about Allen as a result. He’s suffered a number of medium-term injuries and one long-term injury in his four-year RSL career. It’s worth acknowledging, at the very least, that an apparent heart condition that wasn’t addressed until early 2016 played a role. (It’s definitely worth a read if you weren’t aware of the surgery he underwent.)

Right now, Allen presents an unknown. I’d argue he had a very good preseason, and he deserves an opportunity to show that he can have a good season yet. His hard-work and team-oriented attitude should make him a strong candidate for a Petke side, and it would be nice to verify that line of thought.

Plus, he’s scored a few great goals, nabbed a few assists, and is very much still a young player — he’s only 22, remember.

Here’s Petke on Allen:

Every day, you see an improvement with him. It’s about monitoring him and not pushing him too hard. He’ll be traveling to Sacramento, and we have a plan for him, which obviously, we’re not going to talk about. But we have a specific plan for him, and I’m looking for him to contribute significantly in this game.

Justen Glad

I know I’ve just put Glad on this list, but I have to be honest with you. I’m not really sure about this one. This shouldn’t say anything about Glad — in fact, if he doesn’t play in this match, that would almost certainly be to hold him for an MLS match. I’d even say the MLS match is more important, given how quickly we might find ourselves truly out of playoff contention if things don’t start turning around.

All that aside, I’d like to see Glad for very much the same reason I’d like to see Allen: We haven’t really yet. We’ve long thought that Glad could be the answer in the back — or at least one answer to one of many questions — and we need to see him play to prove that. This would be a good chance for that to take place, but also — you know what — he’s really good, and I want to win this game.

Jose Hernandez

One of the few young players who hasn’t been thrust into immediate action this year is Jose Hernandez, and even he’s already played six games. We’ve seen him excel for Real Monarchs, and he was a true standout for UCLA, and before even that, he was one of the RSL Academy’s best midfielders.

I’d like Hernandez to see minutes because this is exactly the sort of match he should be starting in. He’s not made it yet, and he has a lot to prove. He can’t easily do that if he’s not playing matches — and no, I’m not advocating we start him over Albert Rusnak or anything right now.

Still, with Rusnak gone on international duty for an extended-ish period, maybe a positive appearance here could have a bigger impact on Hernandez’s season. Whatever the case, these are the games where you give young players an opportunity to prove that.

Ricardo Velazco

This young winger played the first four matches of the season, then he played only sparingly after that. I’d like to see him get another opportunity, and he’s very much like Hernandez in this regard. These are the matches where you give young players an opportunity to show you where they are in their progression. Let’s see some of that.

David Horst

We’re back on the “hey, he’s not injured!” train here, and I’m not getting off it right now. Horst is sort of the odd one out on this list: He’s not an RSL Academy graduate, he’s not young, and he’s played lots of minutes in MLS. I wouldn’t have anticipated he’d be in line for a starting position often in 2017, but given how bad our defense has been, any new blood seems nicer than what we’ve been seeing.