The biggest lineup news is that Mauro Rosales will not travel for the match at Real Salt Lake. That basically assures that the Seattle Sounders will have Lamar Neagle on the left and Alvaro Fernandez on the right. That move will of course shift the substitution plan a bit. Something that is already adjusted because of the higher elevation in Sandy, Utah.
There are only three questions with the starting lineup that Sigi Schmid will answer. The 50/50 sharing plan between Tyson Wahl and Leo Gonzalez. We expect that nod to go to Leo for his slightly stronger on-ball defense. The decision between Erik Friberg and Brad Evans has often come down to health, but with Evans stronger offense we expect he'll get the nod in the middle. He also provides a stronger defensive presence in set-piece situations, a particular strength of Salt Lake.
No First XI question is bigger than picking between Sammy Ochoa and Mike Fucito. Due to RSL's relative struggles with speed in general and Fucito's play specifically I hope that he would start. There's some thought that you play the team that got you to this point. And the late season lineup featured more Fucito than not-Fucito. But, it isn't a simple answer. Both will play, and Jeremiah notes the following about Ochoa. "In his admittedly limited time with Montero, he has proven to be a good pairing with Montero, who has thrived with a "big" strike partner. Montero's last five goals have come with either Ochoa or Nate Jaqua on the field. Playing Ochoa is more about giving Montero space than it is about Mike Fucito's relative skills."
Here's a reminder. Run-of-play and set-play numbers do not include rebounds (because data provided doesn't say if they are off of either), nor own goals, nor penalties (because does the run-of-play get awarded based on drawing them, or is it a set-play when scoring). All data is for MLS matches only. We've got a lot of all competitions data, but the viz is set-up for specific data that we don't have more non-MLS matches. There's no discipline box as no players have Playoffs discipline. Instead that space was used to show the head-to-head record and the referee crew.
Projected lineup for the Royals is provided by Denz at RSLSoapBox. It is their ideal XI at this point, and one that sees their best two players on the pitch again for the first time in many months.
What do you notice in the data that gives you hope or fear?