SANDY, Utah — As Jason Kreis sees some of his key players return to health, he could face some interesting lineup dilemmas in future weeks. But would it be possible to see a fully healthy Javier Morales, Álvaro Saborío or Nat Borchers sitting on the sideline in favor of young hopefuls?
The Real Salt Lake head coach hinted that his star names might have to wait to get back in the starting lineup after last Saturday’s 2-0 victory over the New York Red Bulls.
“I think it brings up an interesting situation because now we’ve got two wins in a row,” said Kreis. “We’ve got some players coming back from injury that usually would expect to start, and it will make difficult choices for the coaching staff.”
Kreis elaborated on those comment after training on Wednesday, ahead of the team's matchup against winless Chivas USA this weekend.
“As early as this weekend or next weekend we could have all of our players fully healthy,” he explained. “So when that happens you are faced with choices like, do those players immediately get inserted back into the starting lineup or not?”
Kreis has always been a big believer that the players in-form are the ones that deserve the chance to play. He’s also been wary of changing things up unnecessarily, almost to the point of superstition.
And with the team on a winning streak, changes may be at a premium against Chivas on Saturday night.
“I think you can make a reasonable argument that we should stick with what’s working,” Kreis said. “ But you can certainly make reasonable arguments that you should give the players that have been here a long time a chance to get back in the lineup when they are healthy.”
Yet leaving the team as it is could have some benefits down the road, in terms of less wear-and-tear on the bodies of some key veterans in a season that could see nearly 50 games.
However the lineup shakes out, the RSL coach is adamant that he won’t allow for a controversy over playing time.
“I think that they better be on the same page with all of us,” Kreis said. “All decisions are going to be made based on what’s best for the team and not what’s best for individuals. I’ll have to make the choices. And I’ll be the one either succeeding or failing by those choices.”