Real Salt Lake return home after a devastating loss to the New England Revolution hoping to get back on the right foot. As it has been all season so far, injuries have played a large role but captain Kyle Beckerman said, "There's no excuse for this weekend. We have to get better."
With veterans like Javier Morales and Nick Rimando training fully, it is anticipated that they will get the start on Friday against a San Jose Earthquakes side looking for redemption after losing 1-0 to the Claret-and-Cobalt earlier this season.
RSL won their second consecutive match the last time these two sides met. After a foul was called just before half time, Morales stepped up and delivered. In the 44th minute, Morales struck a free-kick from just outside the 18 yard box bouncing off the wall and returning to him. He then volley a screecher past David Bingham for the only goal on the night.
About the Clubs
San Jose Earthquakes
Since they have last met the Claret-and-Cobalt, San Jose has gone 1-1-0 - their victory coming from a 1-0 result over the Vancouver Whitecaps and losing to New York Red Bulls 2-0. They were scheduled to play against the Montreal Impact but that match was rescheduled due to CONCACAF Champions League.
The Quakes are coming off a bye and will look to get rolling once again. San Jose will come to Rio Tinto with a full company of men only missing starting left back Shaun Francis after a collision with Jordan Allen the last time these two sides met. Therefore, expect the Quakes to field the best eleven they can as they look to improve their record against Real.
Predicted San Jose Starting XI (4-3-3): Bingham; Wynne, Bernardez, Goodson, Cato; Wondolowski, Alashe, Garcia; Nyassi, Jahn, Salinas.
Real Salt Lake
Standing on equal ground with their opponent, the Claret-and-Cobalt are looking to get back to winning ways. RSL now sits in the second to lowest position in the West with only nine points in seven games. The Claret-and-Cobalt look the more battered side since losing their last two straight. As players come back from both injury and suspension, RSL will once again rely on its veterans and youth contingent equally.
RSL will get big boosts from the return of both Jamison Olave and Javier Morales. Each playing a significant role in defense and offense, respectfully, these veterans will be relied upon to get a result in front of the home fans. While RSL may have had their sails deflated a bit in the past weeks, expect the club to be ready to push to get the result at home.
Players to Watch
San Jose Earthquakes - J.J. Koval
The sophomore player looked San Jose's' most dangerous player the last time these two sides met. Coming on for an injured Shaun Francis in the 37th minute, Koval had at least two chances to score but failed to do so. The regular box-to-box midfielder has shown he has the ability to be an offensive threat when called upon. The most dangerous move the sophomore has made all season was against RSL in the 57th minute. Matias Perez Garica played a quick free kick to Koval making a near-post run. Finding his target, Koval chested the ball down causing Rimando to react quickly to usher the ball out of play. With an MLS-rookie defender in their opponent's back line, San Jose will hope that Koval could be the difference maker and score his first career goal.
Real Salt Lake - Javier Morales
The Claret-and-Cobalt's assist and goal leader will likely return to the pitch this weekend. After a couple weeks out to heal an injury, Morales will look to return to being that impact player that RSL needs. RSL suffered two consecutive defeats without the maestro so his veteran savvy will be vital going up against a side that smells blood in the water. Morales will be in charge of keeping the boat afloat and hopefully jump-starting RSL stagnant offense.
Key to the Match
San Jose Earthquakes
The best way for the Quakes to get revenge this weekend his to challenge early and often. Making the match physical and getting pressed has been RSL's Achilles' heel this season, so San Jose will look to do just that. Getting his strong forwards to put press on rookie Elias Vasquez will almost certainly be something Dominic Kinnear draws up in the locker room. Capitalizing on forced errors made by their opponents should be the bread and butter for a physically domineering San Jose side. The only question that remains is who San Jose gives the center forward role too with a squad full of men capable of playing that position.
Real Salt Lake
After being shutout for three consecutive weeks, RSL's only real objective should be finding the back of the net. It will be imperative that the offense starts clicking as the midfield and defense of RSL have tallied double the amount of goals for the club as the forwards. As the Claret-and-Cobalt's starting forwards continue to come up empty handed, maybe it is time that RSL reach deeper into the well and maybe give some youngsters the opportunity to start.
Catch the match Friday May 1 at the RioT or on Univision Desportes at 8 p.m. MDT.
We'd like to know what you think. Do you think that there is anything we missed? Are there aspects of this match that we overlooked? What do you think this match means to Real Salt Lake? Will RSL's attack finally begin to click? Can RSL prevent San Jose from achieving revenge? Share your opinions in the comments section below.