HT: How crucial to Salt Lake's aspirations this season are classic Javier Morales performances from Javier Morales? Morales is a tough guy, but time has its way with everyone, and Javi's 35. What's the team's ceiling in his absence?
RSLS: This is a tough question to answer. Javier Morales is absolutely still key to RSL's success. Over the first four or five games Morales pretty much carried RSL on his back. Morales is going the route of Ryan Giggs where he is not losing much with his age by doing yoga and ice baths and those sorts of things. I foresee him playing a few more years and doing well. On the other hand, when Luis Gil has replaced Morales as the driver of the RSL offense, he has done well. Gil's ceiling is very high and when he plays that position consistently should flourish. The RSL front office has been grooming him for years to take over for Morales whenever that happens.
HT: Speaking of Morales, what's the club's succession plan for he and Beckerman? I'm curious how RSL fans view the prospect of these final few key players from the peak years getting longer in the tooth - describe, as they say, the feels.
RSLS: As I mentioned Luis Gil being groomed, there are other players being groomed as well. RSL should have a smooth transition when the likes of Beckerman and Rimando end up having to retire. The RSL residential academy is one of the best in the country according to many people that know much more about residential academies than I do. We are now starting to see the fruits of that with the likes of Jordan Allen, Sebastian Saucedo, Justin Glad, and many others that are working their way up through Real Monarchs and hopefully Real Salt Lake. I personally am really excited for the coming years because anybody that watches these players can see the potential that they have. They are really young players - people in their late teens or very early twenties and they are doing some fantastic things on the field. I don't think anybody likes the idea of losing the core over the past seven years because they have become such a fabric of the club, but I am anxious to see what the future holds.
HT: Given that the team played Wednesday night, how much squad rotation would you expect from the Royals in Saturday's game?
RSLS: I expect a few positions to see some rotation, particularly in the midfield and forward positions. There are not very many options at center back for rotation with the injury of Chris Schuler, but since the beginning of 2015 there have been minor changes every game. RSL's busiest month is arguably May so Cassar will do his best to manage minutes, especially with the veteran players.
HT: Who's the next big prospect in the pipeline from RSL Academy?
RSLS: Brooks Lennon seems to be getting the most attention but it looks like he is likely going to Liverpool.
Best-guess lineup: Rimando, Mansally, Vasquez, Olave, Beltran, Beckerman, Gil, Mulholland, Saborio, Garcia, Sandoval
Game prediction: 1-1