International absences force Kreis to utilize RSL depth

Victor Decolongon - Getty Images

With five of his players away from the club during the FIFA international break for World Cup 2014 Qualifiers, Real Salt Lake coach Jason Kreis will need to find suitable replacements for Wednesday's match against Seattle Sounders.

With five of his players away from the club during the FIFA international break for World Cup 2014 Qualifiers, Real Salt Lake coach Jason Kreis will need to find suitable replacements for Wednesday's match against Seattle Sounders.

Kyle Beckerman and Nick Rimando are the only absent players that could potentially play, as the U.S. takes on Guatemala in Kansas City on Tuesday. Rimando, second-choice goalkeeper, is not expected to play, though there is a chance Beckerman could, particularly with the U.S.'s Jermaine Jones absent through yellow card accumulation.

But even if neither see the pitch during the vital match for the U.S. Men's National Team, Kreis isn't likely to thrust them into the match with little preparation.

"It's very, very small," Kreis said. "Logistically, to get those guys to Seattle in a time-frame that's acceptable, for the situation to be good for them to perform well - it makes it a pretty small chance."

With Will Johnson, Luis Gil and Alvaro Saborio also absent, Kreis has his work cut out for him as Ned Grabavoy continues his recovery from a quad injury.

"I think he's a real long shot," Kreis said. "I'd say 10 percent. He's moving forward, but he's still another week out."

Kreis cited RSL's squad depth as his method of coping with international absences.

"First and foremost, it makes it important how you build your team," he said. "We've always tried to build our team in a very deep fashion with a lot of players we feel we can count on in critical moments."

Despite having to dive down his depth chart, Kreis has little reason to worry about inexperience.

"For us, I think we put ourselves in a pretty good position, because we've had a lot of guys get a lot of experience in that first half of the season," he said. "So now we feel like we're not having to put in somebody that's brand new and has no experience at this critical time."

Although RSL would be noticeably stronger with Rimando and Beckerman in the lineup, Kreis acknowledges the "great honor" of being involved with the national team.

"I have split feelings, of course," Kreis said. "I have my own job to worry about, I've got to put food and drink on the table for my family. Probably, I would say I prefer to see him well-rested and not playing in those matches, but I also deeply care for Kyle and Nick and want what's best for them, and know that is to represent their country. I know what a great honor that is, so I want that for them as well."

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