Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Projected Starting Lineup


Based on the starting lineup used against the Austin Aztex, I think the beginning of the season Starting XI is pretty clear.  It looks essentially like this…




















Ian Joy appears to be out 4-6 weeks due to a hamstring injury that has been bothering him all preseason and was re-aggravated during the match against the Aztex.

Borchers has also been suffering from an injury to his ankle from the bone spur surgery that he underwent in December.  However, he played in the Aztex match and appeared to be moving fine.

Robbie Russell appears back to full health and could be in the mix as well.

I’m okay with this lineup, but I could also see a couple of alterations as the season moves along.

First, although Findley and Movsisyan appear to be clearly the best two forwards at this point, I wouldn’t mind seeing Findley come off the bench in certain matches.  Not only do I like the concept of Findley bringing his pace in against the legs of tired defenders, but I think Escalada provides something that Findley and Movsisyan don’t.  He is a more technical player and can get into the mix of the tight passing game that RSL employs through the midfield.  From my brief observations in Charleston and at practice, Escalada shows signs of being a precise finisher (although we didn’t see that against the Aztex).  Like most people I’m not sold that he can do it in this league, but I’m ready to see him in some real action.

Second, I am torn between Ian Joy at left back or Tony Beltran at right back, with Wingert sliding over to the left.  I like Ian’s grit and experience, and he’s a great professional to have out on the pitch.  However, Ian doesn’t have a lot of pace and seems a little hesitant at times to push forward.  Beltran on the other hand is inclined to push forward at every chance.  This can be good, or bad.  He can get caught out of position, but his pace and recovery ability can make up for his occasional defensive lapses.  We’ll see how Beltran does during the first few matches of the season.

There are some other players that I am also interested to see how they fit into the mix: 

  • Ned Grabavoy – it didn’t seem like he was really fitting in yet with the group in Charleston.  I’m curious about what contribution we’ll see out of him this season.
  • Andy Williams – I assume that we will see a similar reserve role out of Andy where he comes in late in matches to either help close out a game with his ability to help the team hold the ball, or in pressing for a goal.
  • Robbie Russell – a talented player, with a lot of good experience.  I think he’ll play a lot this season in fill-in roles, but he doesn’t have a designated position which may keep him from being a regular starter anytime soon.

What are your thoughts?