Only Thursday, Real Salt Lake completed the signing of midfielder Nick Besler from Real Monarchs.
Besler, 24, has never played in MLS before, despite his having been with Portland Timbers for two years. That might change against Colorado Rapids tonight, and it’s just down to a single suspension that could give him the opportunity.
See, we’re in a tenuous position with yellow cards. First up, Kyle Beckerman is out. That’s the big thing — without Beckerman, we’re left in a position where we have no true midfielders on the bench. Sure, Danilo Acosta can play there, and Justen Glad can play there, but they’re both being utilized in other important positions.
But Beckerman’s absence isn’t the only reason we might see Besler. See, we’re in a position where one more yellow card sees Sunny suspended for yellow-card accumulation (it would be his second time in 2017), and two (or three?) more yellows would see Mulholland out, though it’s worth noting that his yellow yesterday — his fourth on the season — is only his third in accumulation reckoning, given he has reached a good behavior incentive. (What a good Luke, and he may actually have reached it twice.)
So much of this depends, inevitably, on how the match proceeds. If we find ourselves leading comfortably and the match isn’t in doubt, then it might make sense to sit Sunny on the bench and give Besler a chance to impress. If we’re looking to lock things up late, he could get a chance. But the most likely scenario, to my mind, is this:
If it’s getting late in the game and Sunny hasn’t managed to land himself his eighth yellow card, it might be worth considering the switch. See, a suspension for Sunny isn’t the worst thing, but we are facing an away match on Sept. 9 in Vancouver. Mike Petke has shown a penchant for preferring Sunny and Beckerman in a pairing, particularly on the road — and we know there’s some real danger lurking in Vancouver. A win against them could help us with our (I’m whispering now) playoff opportunity.
At any rate, I think there’s a good chance that Besler could make his first-team debut — not just for us, but period. He’s been a capable player that has made a difference repeatedly for Real Monarchs, and if we can leverage those skills on the first team, we’ll be better off for it. Let’s just hope if he does come in, it’s for rotation, rest, card concern, and not because somebody’s gone down injured. Anything but that.