Are we prepared to lose three of our best players this season -- and of all-time, no doubt -- after this weekend?
The simple is answer is, as you'd expect, simple. "Hardly," we might say. Shout, even. Or it could be a hearty, "Maybe!" But it's not a question of being prepared, or really being ready -- it's a question of knowing how to cope.
Kyle Beckerman, Nick Rimando, both for the United States, and Alvaro Saborio, for Costa Rica, will almost certainly be departing in the intervening time between Sunday's match against Houston Dynamo and the following match, a home affair against Colorado Rapids.
The United States squad is being announced on Monday; if Beckerman and Rimando aren't going, we will have bigger questions on our hands. That stands to reason as the case if Alvaro Saborio doesn't go for Costa Rica, too.
The question then becomes fairly obvious. If we're missing those three players, how do we fare?
There's not an easy answer. Jeff Attinella is a capable backup for Nick Rimando, but he won't win points entirely on his own the way Rimando has been forced to this season. Devon Sandoval has been effective and had a strong freshman season, but the lethality of his finishing doesn't match up to one of the best finishers in the league. Cole Grossman is a capable midfielder, but he's been struggling with injury.
Are we ready to lose the three? Certainly not. We likely won't ever be, though, and there's no shame in that. Promising young players don't come with a Certificate of Authenticity and Ability to Replace stapled to their chest. They don't come with a warranty. We have to remember that.
But the chance for these players to impress in longer strings of minutes than they'd get for an injured game or two could be a positive move in their development. Attinella has shown well this season, but he hasn't ever played more than three consecutive matches for us.
Cole Grossman's time here has been so spotted with unfortunate injury that despite being trusted in the midfield, he's still in single digit appearances. But he offers the most similar play to Beckerman as a two-way midfielder with good defensive play complementing his passing qualities.
Devon Sandoval is the most tested of the trio, playing 20 matches in 2013, but his goalscoring hasn't been much of a factor. He offers the best hold-up play in our forwards as the most similar player to Alvaro Saborio, but he's not nearly as deadly.
So yes, there's risk in these natural changes. None of the players are proven as more than backups, and this could be their biggest chance to change that.
We have every reason to celebrate members of our squad being involved in the biggest tournament the world over, even if two of the three aren't likely to win big minutes. They're representing Salt Lake City on a world stage. They'll still be here this weekend against Houston Dynamo, so we shouldn't fret too much -- yet.