In their first-ever run for any sort of silverware, Real Monarchs come up against USL neighbors Colorado Springs Switchbacks in a third round US Open Cup match tonight — a team they lost to 5-2 only weeks ago.
But that 5-2 loss, as much as it stung at the time, should fade into the background as the Monarchs host a team with goalscoring potential coming out the ears. But as much as that means something, it also isn't the thing Real Monarchs will be thinking about.
The opportunity to progress in the tournament should be enough motivation, and it will have to be — Monarchs aren't particularly likely to involve any Real Salt Lake players outside of Fito Ovalle in their lineup tonight.
After all, those RSL players, if they were to play with the Monarchs on loan in the U.S. Open Cup, would be cap-tied, rendering themselves ineligible for Real Salt Lake's own berth in the tournament.
While we have no specific insight into RSL coach Jeff Cassar's goals with the Cup and with members of his team, the fact that a handful of RSL players were involved on Sunday for Monarchs should give us some indication that they won't be involved tonight.
That gives us at least some means to start sussing out a lineup. Lalo Fernandez, RSL's third string goalkeeper, definitely won't be involved, as any run from RSL could require a third goalkeeper, particularly as Jeff Attinella is in some doubt with an apparent ankle roll. In fact, Fernandez will probably be on RSL's bench tonight.
Sebastian Saucedo probably won't be involved, too, as he could be a useful play for Real Salt Lake's US Open Cup run — and if Cassar is treating the Cup as a chance for some of his younger players, maybe he even starts his first professional match. Finally, Boyd Okwuonu definitely won't be involved, as he's in France with the United States U-23s for the Toulon Tournament.
That leaves Monarchs with an almost exclusively Monarchs lineup, which seems to have played well for the team so far this year — and it seemed to be the case in the team's second-round win over Long Island Rough Riders.
This will be the team's third match against the Switchbacks this season, who have yet to tie a game in 2015. They'll play each other at least two more times before the season's end.