Real Salt Lake v. Seattle Sounders
Desert Diamond Cup Final, 6 p.m. MT
Live on NBC Sports
Predicted (first-half) Lineup
Kyle Beckerman revealed that, unsurprisingly, Jason Kreis and co. are set to roll out as first-choice a lineup as possible: "It's going to be pretty close to what you'll see next week."
Rimando; Beltran, Schuler, Kwame Watson-Siriboe, Mansally; Beckerman, Gravavoy, Stephenson, Velasquez; Findley, Saborio
Questions and musings
The biggest question to note, I think: Is Findley ready for 60 minutes? He hasn't played much so far. If not, expect Joao Plata to start. Further, substantial second-half expect minutes from newcomer (and apparent Justin Bieber fan) Olmes Garcia.
What is Stephenson's role with the team? He's a midfielder, yes, this is known and obvious — but what sort of midfielder will he be for us? We're still yet to see enough from him to definitively say, so I'm rather looking forward to that.
Can RSL match up against this Seattle side? Certainly. They played 90 minutes yesterday against Veracruz, and a grand total of one substitution. It was a pretty first-choice lineup for them as they aim to (sigh) succeed in CONCACAF Champions League action soon. At any rate, don't expect their best players to play tonight. Maybe we'll see Shalrie Joseph or something. That could be funny.
Jason Kreis, as told to @ArloWhite: "There's real competition in every position. It's no longer just 12 guys. Nobody is untouchable." (source)
Kyle Beckerman, on ESPN700: "Guys are working hard, trying to learn the system — we have quite a few young guys, new guys, and they're all buying into the system and really working their butts off to fit in and get ready."
Garth Lagerwey, on signing Saunders: "We were surprised that Josh was available and we are happy to bring him in. We want to have competition at every spot and I think we got to a point with our goalkeeping situation where we hadn't had that. Signing Josh is key to changing that." On signing Stephenson: "Khari is another player who we did not expect to be available and we feel very fortunate that he was. He's an attack-minded player who is very physical and keeps the ball well. We think he'll be a very good fit in our system."