Who will start in Perez's place up top tonight?

With FC Dallas forward Blas Perez out for tonight’s game with Real Salt Lake due to a one-game suspension he received for an elbow thrown in the first half of Saturday’s 1-0 loss at Vancouver, the big question is who will head coach Schellas Hyndman decide to start in his place?

Here are several possibilities:

Fabian Castillo

One scenario that could play out sees Castillo moving from a flank midfield role to forward. Of course, were Hyndman to employ this scenario, it would require other moves. If Castillo were to move up, then it looks like Carlos Rodriguez could fill in at left mid. With Jair Benitez now over left knee tendonitis and available for selection, it’s likely he returns to the first 11 at left back tonight, especially since Hyndman was concerned about the lack of getting forward when he had Rodriguez and Pertuz, two guys not considered attacking players, manning the left side, meaning FCD was basically attacking from only the right and middle.

Likelihood: Very Possible

Ruben Luna

Some are clamoring to see homegrown striker Ruben Luna get a start, but it was just last week that Hyndman said he wanted to see the guy who led the Reserve League with 10 goals in 2011 deliver better results in reserve games. He has played better lately, but is it enough? Here is what the gaffer had to say about Luna last week:

“Ruben’s a player that has kind of been off and on. I think he’s a player that came in and got an injury in preseason. Because we’ve been working so hard, he’s been trying to catch up. I think for him to get on the field and be of help to us, he’s got to be a little bit more productive in reserve games. So we’ve been watching him very closely. All players, especially young players, have peaks and dips. Right now I think he’s working his way back up to develop self-confidence.”

Likelihood: Remote

Scott Sealy

Besides the Castillo scenario, seeing Scott Sealy make his first start for FCD appears to be the most likely of choices for Hyndman. The Dallas gaffer loves the experience and savvy that the striker from Trinidad and Tobago brings up top and now that Sealy is healthy, how better to get an accurate read of how he can contribute to this thing than in a game where Perez is unavailable?

Hyndman had the following to say about Sealy, who made his FCD debut as a second-half sub against Vancouver, earlier in the week:

“It’s good to see him there. He brings a lot of experience in the league and he’s awfully fit. He works extremely hard. He’s a player that can deal with the physical play from the league and I thought he did fine.”

Likelihood: Very Possible

Brek Shea

Others think one possibility is moving Brek Shea from his customary flank midfielder role to forward. But anyone who knows Hyndman at all and how he thinks realizes this scenario might result in too many moving parts when it comes to making out the first 11, something the FCD gaffer isn’t a big fan of. Had Jackson already arrived in Frisco and were the versatile Brazilian available for tonight’s game, then this could be more of a realistic possibility. But were Shea to move up, Hyndman could very well go with Rodriguez and Castillo as his flank midfielders, but think the gaffer’s pretty happy with where he’s had Shea for the last few seasons and it’s unlikely he’d move him even if it were for one game.

Likelihood: Remote

Jonathan Top

If there is a wildcard in all this talk about who will fill in for Super Raton, it could be Jonathan Top. He has been tearing it up in the reserve league so far this year and was on Hyndman’s 18-man gameday roster for the Vancouver game, but is he ready to start with the first team? Some might be quick to say that the Dallas gaffer has never been one to throw young players in there to see what they had, but that argument is quickly diffused when mentioning the time Bryan Leyva saw with the first team earlier this season. Top would be an intriguing possibility and while it wouldn’t be a shock to see Hyndman start him, the more likely scenario sees him on the bench for the Salt Lake game, possibly as Hyndman’s primary option should he need to see something different up top in the second half.

Likelihood: Moderate yet Intriguing