It’s playoffs or bust with three games to go, and one to clinch a spot in the postseason for Real Salt Lake. Yet it will have to take on San Jose later this week without players like Alvaro Saborio, Joao Plata and Nick Rimando. All three–plus Luis Gil and Carlos Salcedo–were called up for international duty on Mon. Oct. 6–meaning they’ll all miss this week’s pivotal game at Rio Tinto Stadium.
If that don’t beat all, the claret and cobalt also don’t know whether they’ll have defender Chris Schuler–who suffered a broken nose at Chivas USA–or fellow back line mate Tony Beltran, who has been dealing with a herniated disc, according to a report on Tues. Oct. 7 in the Salt Lake Tribune. Both are questionable for the all-important San Jose tilt.
If you’re counting at home–and undoubtedly you are–RSL will be missing both of its top scorers and possibly two of its starting defenders, in addition to Javier Morales who must sit out the San Jose game on yellow-card accumulation.
About the only player who didn’t get a call-up or get nicked was midfielder and team captain Kyle Beckerman, who lucked out because US soccer team coach Jurgen Klinsmann opted to go with a more youthful and experimental squad for upcoming friendlies against Ecuador–on which Plata will play–and Honduras.
Rimando and Gil were both called up to the US soccer team for its friendlies later this week and next, Saborio was called up to Costa Rica’s national team that made it to the World Cup quarters in Brazil and Salcedo was called up to Mexico’s Under-21 national team preparing for the 2016 Rio Olympics.
The plus for RSL later this week is that it will have Sebastian Jaime, its recent forward signee from Argentina who has shown signs of breaking out as a player, as well as Robbie Findley, who appears to be rounding back into form.
Jaime didn’t play in last week’s 1-0 loss at lowly Chivas USA–and just played a handful of minutes at Vancouver–and so he should be at full strength for San Jose, a game RSL must win. Findley did play at Chivas USA, subbing in for the last 30–but he wasn’t a factor in RSL’s loss.
With FC Dallas breathing down RSL’s necks at the moment, the club has no time to rest on its current third place standing in the Western Conference. Of course with upwards of eight of its usual starters missing in action this weekend, guaranteeing a win at Rio Tinto against the second-worst team in the West in San Jose is probably not wise, either.