Playing in what will be their 6th game in 3 weeks, Coach Marco's men will have to fight off fatigue and step up their game to remain in the hunt for the top spot in the Eastern conference (they are currently 3 points away but have played fewer games than their competitors).
It is difficult to predict which starting XI or formation will be used by the boys in blue as there are questions regarding health and fatigue, such as:
- Is Marco Di Vaio rested enough to play a full 90 minutes?
- Will Hassoun Camara receive a well deserved break?
- Will Jeb Brovsky get a day off?
- Who else gets rested ahead of next week's AMWAY Cup final against Vancouver?
- Which players are healed from their injuries and ready to make an Impact?
The Impact's head tactician has a lot to ponder ahead of this game.
Update: Read my answers to Matt's 3 Questions on RSL Soap Box here,
RSL currently sit in 2nd in the Western conference with a 5-4-2 record. It is a little misleading as the teams below them are close in points and have games in hand. What are the expectations surrounding this team for the 2013 MLS season? Are they a .500 team that will struggle to make the playoffs or are they worthy of 2nd place?
Expectations are, I think, still very much up in the air. Jason Kreis and Garth Lagerwey have both been careful to meter expectations on this side and they've been very keen to point out that we're going to be better later in the season than earlier. That's easy to understand but it's also worth considering that the basic framework of the side has remained in place really since 2009. While individual pieces have been shuffled out, the generals remain the same. That puts us in a good position to do well. Tthe West still looks very much to be a grueling battle, and even if we generally do well, it won't be easy.
Who has been the team's MVP so far this season? Who has been your most disappointing player? Why?
That one's pretty easy: Nick Rimando. He's kept us in two matches directly through penalty saves, and he's been fantastic all around. Jason Kreis has gone so far as to say that he's been playing at the best in his career. There's a lot of truth to that. It's also problematic because you don't necessarily want your goalkeeper to be forced into keeping you in matches repeatedly. Sometimes it would be nice to have the defense really firing on all cylinders.
There haven't been any players who really disappointed more than others - only young or new players who are inconsistent at this stage.
In the offseason, RSL signed former LA Galaxy GK Josh Saunders to a deal, despite already having the great Nick Rimando. He has only featured in one game so far. What is his role with the team? Does he have a chance at getting more starts or is he simply an insurance policy in the event of an injury to Rimando.
It's simple: Saunders is the first backup keeper behind Nick Rimando. He'll feature when Rimando is away on national team duty and while we hope that he never gets injured, it's always good to have a capable backup for those instances.
Scouting report: Who is the most underrated player on the RSL roster/starting XI and why?
Ned Grabavoy. He's one of those players who glues together the midfield but doesn't get a lot of glamor out of it. He's not the most trick-happy, he's not the one making the most assists and he's not a defensive stronghold but he's always in the right spot and he's always doing the simple things. He's essential but he gets overlooked.
Formation and potential starting XI:
Formation's easy - the diamond 4-4-2. Lineup: Rimando; Beltran, Salcedo, Schuler, Wingert; Beckerman, Grabavoy, Velasquez, Morales; Garcia, Sandoval
Predicted final score: 2-1, because we've had a few of those recently.