It is another FIFA break and for Real Salt Lake that means another round of national team call ups. This time 5 RSL players are off to represent their national teams, first up is Luis Gil who is with the US U-20 team in Spain for the Marbella Cup.
You can check out this great interview with U-20 coach Tab Ramos from the US Soccer website where he talks about the tournament in which the US will take on CONCACAF rival Canada on Wednesday, Oct. 10, followed by Scotland on Friday, Oct. 12 and Azerbaijan on Tuesday, Oct. 16. This is a great chance for the U-20’s to get ready for next year’s qualification and U-20 World Cup.
Then there are the call ups that are part of this latest round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying, for the USMNT both Kyle Beckerman and Nick Rimando again were called in for the US which has a pair of matches. On Oct. 12th the US will play at Antiqua & Barbuda and then return to the US for a match on Oct. 16th against Guatemala which will be played at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park in Kansas City.
Will Johnson will again be representing Canada in their pair of matches, at Honduras and home against Cuba. While Alvaro Saborio will be suiting up for Costa Rica as they also have a pair of matches, El Salvador on the road and then Guyana at home.
With the travel involved I don’t expect any of them to be available for Seattle, with the exception of Nick Rimando who may be deemed the 3rd keeper for the match against Guatemala, which could see him return to Salt Lake City in time for the Seattle match.
From the Seattle side I know I wasn’t the only hoping that Osvaldo Alonso or Fredy Montero would pick up a yellow card on Sunday to keep the out from our match on the 17th, but neither of them did. We do know that Eddie Johnson has been called up by the USMNT, so they will be without his services, as well as Adam Johansson who will represent Sweeden and Mario Martinez who will be representing Honduras during the upcoming World Cup qualifying matches.
With the extended break, we are likely to see Ned Grabavoy back recovered from his recent injury. We saw a very good performance from Jonny Steele on Saturday night filling in for Will Johnson, and I have a great level of confidence in Yordany Alvarez who has filled in for Kyle a number of times this year. Then there is a complete wildcard for RSL that is David Viana, who is back with the team and both his work visa and ITC have been completed.
Up top, it was great to see Fabi get a couple of goals, and with it likely that Paulo Jr. will be playing alongside him on the 17th, I think that duo could really cause some issues for the Sounders backline that is very good, but one that doesn’t have a ton of speed in recovery.
So while both teams will be missing players the match on the 17th is huge for both clubs as both Seattle and RSL look to stay a head of the LA Galaxy and out of the wildcard match in the Western Conference. As things stand today, RSL is 5 points ahead of the Galaxy and will need just 2 points from their final two matches to avoid LA having any chance of catching us. Seattle is 2 points ahead of the Galaxy but also have a match in hand, so they would need to get 5 points from their final 3 matches to ensure that LA doesn’t catch them.
I know we are getting to the end of the season, and things are exciting for RSL fans as we head into a huge CCL match and the MLS playoffs, but it is comforting to know that even with national team call ups we still have a very good roster. For me Luis and Jonny stepping in against the Galaxy were huge signs about what our depth can do in big matches.
That’s How I See It