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Waibel: RSL injuries easing with Mulholland, Beltran, Silva nearing returns

RSL’s general manager talked to ESPN 700 about injuries, performances, Damir Kreilach and more.

MLS: Los Angeles FC at Real Salt Lake Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

RSL general manager Craig Waibel, in an appearance on ESPN 700 yesterday, described the team as on the mend.

It’s the sort of thing that’s been a long time coming, with Luke Mulholland playing just a single minute for the team, Tony Beltran being stuck recovering from injury for most of the year, and a various assortment of other players being in and out of the team.

He also put Luis Silva as being one or two weeks out.

On injuries

We’re doing well, knock wood. We’ve got a couple guys getting healthy now. Luke’s back jogging around the field, Luis Silva is on the quick set — he’s probably not more than a week or two out. Tony’s back on his feet. Everyone that didn’t have a surgical injury this year is back on their feet, so it’s nice to see. You obviously get a lot more smiles around the training ground out in Herriman when everyone gets to kick a ball.

Note his “surgical injury” part there — that’s going to rule out players like David Horst, for example.

On performances

We’re trending the right way in terms of health, and now it’s just a matter of keeping these performances going, solidifying our self on the road, picking up a point here, a point there on the road, possibly three — we’ve only done that once this year. We have to remain consistent at home, and that’s the key this weekend. You have to remain consistent at home, and worry about the Wednesday game at LAFC and the next game at Houston when they come.

On wins affecting the atmosphere at the club

It’s always nice, it certainly makes the conversations in the building a little easier, it makes the coaches a little more relaxed. It’s that time of year for every single team where — I was joking with the coaching staff, it feels like every game is the most important game. As soon as that game’s done, you go, “that next game is the most important one.” It’s kind of that time of the year where you get the result, you feel good about it, and the next day you feel that natural pressure of performing again. It’s always more optimistic after a win, but it’s obviously good for the environment.

On tactical coaching and Damir Kreilach’s performances

From a tactical standpoint, the coaches do a really thorough job of scouting the opponent, kind of having nuances and an idea of where we might break the team down more consistently than others. Last week, one of the biggest focuses was those late runs from Damir (Kreilach), because the staff had done a really good job scouting and noticed that Chicago wasn’t picking up those late runners out of the midfield space. I thought Damir consistently — he could have had one or two more goals on the night to be honest. Compliment to Damir, but also to the rest of the guys around him, because without creating that space — Corey, Albert, Plata, Sava — without creating that space for him, those are wasted energies. Really, the attack did a great job executing the game plan in a way they were trained. Damir gets the spoils and the attention for it.

On team togetherness in the locker room

I think it’s just time together, but the truth is, every professional athlete is wired a little bit off. Having experience myself, you’ve got something that drives you that doesn’t make sense to anyone else. That’s the reason you can ignore all the no’s and all the reasons you’ll never make it. Every guy kind of has their own niche. I see one or two guys always doing crossword puzzles, another couple guys are always at the ping-pong, a couple other guys their thing is lifting before practice. Everyone has their little quirks that convince them they have to be there. To be fair, that’s not consistent between any group of 30 men.