SANDY, Utah – Real Salt Lake finally might just have the lineup they’ve wanted all season, and just in time for their biggest test of 2012.
Head coach Jason Kreis said this week that there’s a possibility RSL could trot out their first-choice lineup for just the fourth time this season when they open the Western Conference Semifinal series against the Seattle Sounders on Friday (10 pm ET; NBCSN, live chat on MLSsoccer.com).
"I think there is a chance," Kreis said at Wednesday's training. "I'm not quite sure I would say it is a good chance yet, but I think there's a chance.”
Kreis insisted that there are some potential question marks surrounding the health and availability of defenders Jámison Olave, Nat Borchers and Chris Schuler, but it appears RSL’s midfield and front line could be intact, just the way the club has intended all season.
Olave, however, seems to the biggest question mark against a Sounders team that posted the fourth-best offense in the league this season.
"Olave got through the whole session today, but we didn't open up the spaces and ask him to cover a lot of ground," Kreis said of the Colombian, who has missed the last two games with a hamstring strain. "That's still going to be the biggest question mark for him … when he actually has to sprint 40 or 50 yards as opposed to 10 and 20."
The perfect lineup would, of course, be nice, but Borchers insisted that either way the team is confident they can get the job done.
"I hope so. It will be fantastic if we did have our Best XI," Borchers said. "But we are a pretty deep team this year. We've made that quite clear when we've had to go to our bench to get results, to use players. I don't think, personally, it matters with this group. We have a mentality, we have a way we play and everybody understands it."