Do-or-die matches: The death of me, among other things

Do-or-die matches: The death of me, among other things

We're inching further and further toward a reboot at Real Salt Lake, and I don't want it to happen. Two things will delay it: continuing in the CONCACAF Champions League and advancing in the MLS Cup playoffs. One of those things we will be worrying about on Tuesday, and it's all in our hands now.

Yuck. These do-or-die matches are what we live for, but my word, they'll be the death of me. It's feeling more and more tense every day, and if things go badly, I fear there will be an implosion in our fan base to go along with one in our team.

That said, I'm not that worried about our ability to beat Herediano. We have plenty of ability to do just that — it's really just a matter of taking it. Don't get me wrong: That's not going to be easy. If we're going to do it, we're going to have to score goals, and our best goalscorer is out for this one.

Who's put in, then, to partner Fabian Espindola? Obvious signs point to Paulo Jr., who just missed out on Wednesday but was training fully today. He seemed to be in good shape, which makes his absence a little mystery — injury, yes, but clearly not a significant one. I don't know quite what to make of it, but these things happen sometimes.

On the bench, I've got to wonder if Emiliano Bonfigli has shown enough to Jason Kreis to continue. He didn't do so for me on Wednesday, despite his dominance with the reserves. There have certainly been some good signs — he's a fantastic finisher, for one — but there's something really missing from his game. I'm no expert, but I've got to wonder where his future lies. I reckon he can improve massively — he's still quite young — but there's much to be seen.

Other replacements needed for Tuesday may include a center back and a right-central midfielder. Those are easy to fill. Schuler's in for Olave if need be — Kwame looks to be improving in fitness in training, as an aside — and Gil's in for Grabavoy should Ned not be read…y. Ready. (I wonder if Ned's well-read. Ah, rhyming, you'll be the death of me, like so many other things.)

I do wonder who will be on the bench. Could Velasquez make it? He's looked good coming on late. What about David Viana? I doubt it, but one never knows. Bonfigli? I doubt it. Justin Braun? Maybe if he's sufficiently recovered from injury.

At any rate, the only absences from training today were Tony Beltran, who was taking a personal day to attend a wedding, and Jamison Olave, who is being checked out to determine the extent of his injuries.

I've nothing else from training today, but perhaps I'll put together a dedicated training post from tomorrow's session. Perhaps you'll just have to wait and see.