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Winning Eleven: RSL vs. LA Galaxy

Let’s get ready for tonight’s match, which RSL absolutely must win if they want even an outside chance at playoff action.

Will Kreilach start in the midfield or at forward? It’s one of the great questions with which we’re faced.
Lucas Muller | RSL Soapbox

Ready for tonight? I’m not. But here’s who I’d play in this, the latest edition of Winning Eleven, where I make my picks, try to predict Freddy Juarez’s picks, and talk a bit about the impending match.

Goalkeeper

  • Andrew Putna

For one reason or another, my pick aligns with the likely pick this time around. I think Andrew Putna is the likeliest choice and probably the right one, because technically, playoffs remain a possibility (though, let’s be honest, the window is slamming shut on that.)

The pressure on this match should be sky-high. We don’t know if RSL will respond well to that pressure or not, but that doesn’t change the fact that it will be a big one.

David Ochoa, for me, is the right choice moving forward, but I don’t think he should be cast into the fire on the biggest match day of the year. If he was going to start, it should have happened several matches ago, not today.

That said, I have no idea what’s going to happen tonight. It’ll be fun, I guess.

Defense

  • Alvin Jones, Justen Glad, Nedum Onuoha, Donny Toia

Again, my pick aligns with what I think the likely pick is here. Aaron Herrera is out through yellow card accumulation, so we will have to replace him. Alvin Jones is the likeliest option, because he is actually a full back, and he is the one backup full back available.

Justen Glad should be back in the starting lineup post-haste, with Marcelo Silva remaining a liability (even if he can be very, very good at his best moments.)

Midfield

  • Likely pick: Pablo Ruiz, Everton Luiz, Damir Kreilach
  • My pick: Pablo Ruiz, Damir Kreilach, Albert Rusnak

There’s no way we don’t start Ruiz, and I don’t think there’s a way we don’t start Kreilach. But given what we saw from Everton Luiz on Wednesday, he’s not to full-strength, and he’s not a difference-maker in a game where we’re likely to be in some control. (Think back to San Jose — after they scored their first goal, they played a deep game, gave us possession, and let us founder. Luiz, as good a dribbler as he might be, is not the solution to unlock a defense.)

Now, obviously, this is LA Galaxy. They are quite bad. For that reason, we absolutely must be ready to score some goals, because frankly, we are probably going to concede a couple. It’s just the way we do things against bad sides. It’s systemic, and it’s been our undoing.

Attack

  • Likely pick: Albert Rusnak, Douglas Martinez, Corey Baird
  • My pick: Corey Baird, Maikel Chang, Justin Meram

This won’t happen. This absolutely won’t happen. But I’d love to see Maikel Chang up front, because frankly, the way we’re using our attack basically has us playing three wingers when Douglas Martinez is in the side.

Let’s embrace that instead of having it as an accidental outcome. Maikel Chang can play up front — or at least, he did for Real Monarchs at times — and at this point, we need to try something. Let’s make it that.

Substitutes

I’m not making substitute picks this time around, because frankly, it’s just me griping a bit, and there’s not too much value in that right now. Let’s just see what happens.