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Seeking return to form, RSL forced to balance between Rapids, USOC matches


Real Salt Lake's returning corps could make an impact on today's match against Colorado Rapids, with Kyle Beckerman and Nick Rimando both likely in contention for what will be one of the more important matches in the history of the Rocky Mountain Cup.

A win for Real Salt Lake would hand them the Rocky Mountain Cup for a seventh-consecutive year. A loss or a draw would see them surrender it for the first time for 2006.

Rimando and Beckerman have had less than a week of training with the club, as last weekend they started in the Gold Cup trophy win, and on Wednesday they played 45 minutes each in the MLS All Star Game. But both are near-certain to start on Saturday--Rimando's quality is undoubted and can surely play three in a week, and RSL is rather without a backup defensive midfielder after Yordany Alvarez was issued a three-game suspension for a terrible tackle on Tim Cahill against New York.

At the back, an opportunity for Brandon McDonald to make his first start for RSL; should he be needed against Portland on Wednesday, finding minutes for him before that will be essential. But Carlos Salcedo could be back, perhaps for this match, and that will make things interesting in contention. Aaron Maund has asserted himself well despite some early struggles, and Chris Schuler, one would imagine, should be edging toward contention after a lengthy layoff.

The midfield could look close to its best with Beckerman back, but Kreis will surely be tempted to rest Grabavoy or Morales in a bid to maintain fitness and mitigate risk of injury. The forward line should also take on a familiar look, with Alvaro Saborio back and Joao Plata or Robbie Findley alongside him.