With Nat Borchers already set to miss all of Real Salt Lake's preseason preparations through injury, the outlook suddenly looks a bit more dim. Chris Wingert will also be missing through injury after undergoing surgery during the offseason, and Nick Rimando is treating a shoulder injury.
Wingert's successful surgery to repair a lingering metatarsal injury has him ruled out through the preseason. An injury to a metatarsal, sustained last year, was treated conservatively; when positive results weren't forthcoming, the left back underwent the surgery.
Nat Borchers, who underwent surgery earlier this month after also experiencing persistent issues with a tendon in his quad, is also likely to be out until at least mid-April.
"It was kind of a shock to me to have to go in and get in done, but it's exactly the same surgery, same repair I had done on my left side as it was on the right side," Borchers said. "I've obviously got some physiological problems to deal with. I'm on a good time table. I think three months is conservatively where we're at, so hopefully mid-April is hopefully what we're looking at for me to get back on the field."
Nick Rimando is also dealing with a shoulder injury; he's not anticipated to miss the start of the season, but it has kept him out of the January US Soccer training camp.
"I talked to Jurgen, talked to Jason, and we came with up not to go in and take care of my shoulder," Rimando said. "It's a big season, a long season coming up, and with qualifiers, we thought it was best to rehab it and get it right."
RSL coach Jason Kreis said that while he's confident in the abilities of the goalkeeping and defensive backups at the club, he is concerned about a deficit of leadership and communication.
"When you look at the back line, to take out the experience of a Borchers, of a Wingert, of a possible Rimando, the first month of the season could be a very concerning issue," Kreis told reporters at media day on Saturday. "We believe in their abilities, but it's hard to replace leadership and communication on the back line."
That will affect preseason preparations for some younger players, Kreis said. Players like Kwame Watson-Siriboe, Chris Schuler, Kenny Mansally, Aaron Maund and Carlos Salcedo could need additional attention to their defensive communication.
"It will be something we will be concerned with," he said. "And it'll be something we'll have to do a lot of work with certain players in the preseason to make sure that they're ready to step up and make big contributions."