Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A View From the Other Side: RSL -vs- SJ

SJ -vs- Real Salt Lake
Courtesy of Roblar (Quakes Fan in Exile)

[Note: Prior to each match we intend to have the a preview of the match, provided by a supporter of the opposing team. This is the second such preview, and the first for an Open Cup match!]

With both Real Salt Lake and the Earthquakes giving up PKs and losing away to Eastern Conference teams, players, coaches, and fans alike should be eager to fast forward to the next game in the hopes of obscuring last weekend's disappointment.

But there is a problem. The next game we play is part of the US Open Cup -- the tournament that would be so much more important if only MLS teams weren't handicapped by their minimal roster size and miniscule salary cap. As it stands, it really doesn't make sense to risk the health or fitness of senior roster players -- doubly so if you're an expansion team. Add Yallop's history of playing few starters in the Open Cup to the mix, and you can expect the Quakes to field a slightly glorified reserve squad on Wednesday.

So, who can you expect to see line up for the Quakes? I have no idea - our team is too new, and I've seen more of RSL than I have of the Quakes! (Seriously, I'm a Quakes fan in exile, and I saw RSL in the Saturn cup.)

You can count on us playing in a 4-4-2 in Yallop-style; running hard, defending with all eleven (starting with the forwards), and attempting to pass the ball quickly (hey, I said "attempting" - no guarantee we'll pull it off, and you can expect a fair share of "hoof it upfield" too). We've had a difficult time generating shots, and that should continue in this game.

I expect the most notable players will be:

Peguero Jean Philippe (<--yes, I meant to type his name that way): The new signing got on the field for a few minutes in New York and looked good, but he's supposedly not match fit. I expect him to play in this game, but Peguero is also coming back from a knee injury, so if it were me, I wouldn't risk starting him - I'd just give him a 30 minute run-out at the end of the game.

Salinas: a promising (and fast) rookie who plays primarily on the right wing and famously missed what would have been the game-tying goal in the game against Chicago. He's shown so much potential that many SJE fans were calling for him to start over Ronnie O'Brien - at least, when we're playing on a rug! And did I mention he's fast?

Cunliffe: a forward who did okay in a sub-role for Chivasusa last year. He's supposed to be more wile than speed, and he's supposed to be a good finisher. We'd like to have one of those - it be nice to discover he's already on the roster!

Glinton: he scored a few for LA last year, he's fast, and he battles hard, but few see him as a starting forward for us, and Peguero seems likely to push Glinton to the bench soon. This is his chance to earn another start (or, to cement his place on the bench).

Johnson: he's gotten good reviews for his sub-minutes so far, and he's a left sided player. Then again, he was traded by you guys and then didn't stick at Chicago last year, so....

Vide: he showed some promise last year in NY, and he helped NY last weekend too. :( As our only back-up d-mid, he should get the start in midfield.

Burpo: had a few good games for Chivasusa last year, and he just might decide to stand on his head and keep the game scoreless.

Anyway, I doubt I can get the starting line-up, but I'm sure we'll come out in a 4-4-2, and I wouldn't be surprised by something like this (I've put an "*" by players who have gotten minutes in MLS games this season):


There are a few things that deserve mention. I have Cochrane listed as starting. I'm really not sure about that, but Cochrane is relatively young (so he should be able to handle the extra minutes) and he's made a few mistakes for us so far - he's got to prove that he belongs. I could also see Yallop wanting to give more time to our regular defense, but with a game last Sunday, an now Wednesday, and then next Saturday... I expect most starters to be rested for the Saturday home-opener. (The real home opener, I might add, not the fake one in Oakland.)

Other guys you might get to see: We've got a guy named Hatzke who has done well as a left back (and left mid) in preseason games. He could start over Denton (or, he could start at left mid and we might see Johnson as more of an attacking midfielder <--that's what I'd like to see!). And finally, we've got a guy named Smarte who has played in several spots (defense, midfield, forward) during preseason. He's fast, and he was a goal-scorer in college. There's a decent chance he gets into the game at some point too. At the end of the day, we Quakes fans are just looking forward to learning more about our team and the players on our roster. And that bad taste of losing to NYRB? Win or lose on Wednesday, that taste will still be lingering for most of the first team players on the Quakes, and most fans won't be satisfied until we have another win in the league. So, expect us to battle hard, but don't expect to see our best players on the field.