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Lineup Projection: RSL vs. LAFC, U.S. Open Cup

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Let’s take a stab at who’s playing tonight. Any ideas?

MLS: Real Salt Lake at Montreal Impact Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

The magic of the cup (not that cup, of course — we hope you’re enjoying our coverage of the Women’s World Cup, but there’s a much less important cup I’m addressing here) dictates that a whole bunch of players, you know, miss the start of the U.S. Open Cup.

Which, well, yeah. That’s just a lot of fun, right? It falls during an international window, and that means RSL is going to be a bit drained tonight against LAFC.

Definitively out

Jefferson Savarino is out killing it with Venezuela (and killing the U.S., which is another story altogether.)

Albert Rusnak is off with Slovakia, and while he didn’t play in their 5-1 drubbing of Jordan, they’ve got a World Cup qualifier today.

Justen Glad, Aaron Herrera, Brooks Lennon, and Sebastian Saucedo all got called up to a U.S. U-23 team, with the camp taking place in Herriman. That seems a bit like Dell Loy Hansen’s endgame with that facility (the concept of internationals, I mean, not the actuality of a U-23 team there), and that’s very interesting to me. Anyway.

David Ochoa is with the U.S. U-20 team, so don’t expect to see our talented young goalkeeper, either. That’d be interesting, though, right?

Projections

Goalkeeper: Alex Horwath, Andrew Putna, Nick Rimando. In that order, I think. We haven’t seen enough from RSL coach Mike Petke in this competition to really know what he’s planning here, but Putna played on Saturday for Real Monarchs, while Horwath didn’t. I also think Rimando’s a long shot here, with Petke fielding a rotated lineup.

Right back: Andrew Brody (Real Monarchs). I don’t have any evidence for this aside from the fact that we have no right backs available at current, plus, again, rotation.

Center backs: Erik Holt and ... Nedum Onuoha? Again, this is the spirit of rotation speaking, but I’d expect Holt to start. That’s all. Onuoha? That’s just a stab in the dark. Maybe it’ll be Nick Besler. Or Marcelo Silva. Or a Real Monarchs player?

Left back: Donny Toia. The only alternative is a Real Monarchs player, I think. I’m not sure we’ll do that, but I’ve been wrong before. (Don’t tell anyone, but I’ve been wrong a lot.)

Defensive midfield: Kyle Beckerman and Justin Portillo. What evidence do I have that Beckerman starts? None whatsoever. But philosophically, I love the idea of the captain in this match offering some sort of guidance. You might also see Nick Besler and Justin Portillo. I really think Portillo starts.

Attacking midfield: Damir Kreilach. I scoured the roster for players who would fit well in this spot. Kreilach remains the only great option with Rusnak, Savarino and Saucedo out. We could conceivably go Monarchs here, but again, I have no idea what happens there.

Left wing: Julian Vazquez? I dunno, really. I guess it could be Joao Plata. Is that the world we live in now? Or maybe it could be Pablo Ruiz?

Center forward: Tate Schmitt? The homegrown forward hasn’t had many minutes for either Real Monarchs or RSL since joining the club. This would be a good start on that path.

Right wing: Corey Baird, I guess. He’s not on international duty, after all.

Players that might start not listed above

So, again, I think we’re in for rotation, and I don’t know exactly where. The following players will want minutes:

  • Luke Mulholland, who has yet to play this year and isn’t listed as injured (perhaps the club conveniently forgot to list him as injured, though)
  • Pablo Ruiz, who hasn’t played for RSL at all in 2019
  • Luis Arriaga, the young homegrown player
  • Any of a host of Real Monarchs players
  • RSL’s generally accepted starting lineup