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Chris Kamrani
Chris Kamrani covers Real Salt Lake for the Tribune.

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Defending champion Galaxy have questions about lineup against RSL

The Galaxy are going to hang their championship banner before playing RSL in the season-opener tonight.

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But will all of their stars be out, too?

The Galaxy played a dramatic draw at Toronto FC on Wednesday night in the first leg of a CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal series, and they have the return leg at home next Wednesday. So there's some thinking that coach Bruce Arena might hold back some of his top guys, knowing he needs a strong performance to reach the Champions League semifinals — though the Galaxy are in great shape, with two away goals.

"We have to be smart," Arena told the Los Angeles Times. "If we have to rotate some people, we'll rotate some people. There's no science to this."

Coach Jason Kreis of RSL said he's not sure what to expect. He said he feels as if Arena in the past has not been as cautious as Kreis would have been, in similar situations.

Besides, the Galaxy figure they're still working out the kinks, even though they're riding an 18-game regular-season home unbeaten streak at the Home Depot Center.

The team had only three training sessions with its first-choice lineup before the Champions League game, according to MLSSoccer.com's Luis Bueno, because stars Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane were still away on loan in England.

Now, they're trying to come together quickly, while integrating some new members. Defender Andrew Boyens made his Galaxy debut against Toronto in place of the league's injured defender of the year Omar Gonzalez — the Times said rookie Tommy Meyer is "likely" to start in place of Boyens against RSL — while Josh Saunders assumed his place in goal now that Donovan Ricketts is gone to the expansion Montreal Impact.

"You can see we have the makings of a very good team," defender A.J. DeLaGarza said, "but we have to put it together."

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