Real Salt Lake are on the road to take on their two biggest rivals in Sporting Kansas City (this weekend) and the Colorado Rapids (next weekend). RSL are flying high after taking 10 points from their first four games, whereas SKC have just a single win and three losses so far.
RSL’s injury report has been a mile long this season, and with players like Aaron Herrera going back on the list, it’s concerning. Head coach Pablo Mastroeni has emphasized players pushing themselves and some have questioned if the injuries are related. Regardless, Damir Kreilach, Marcelo Silva, and Rubio Rubin appear to have traveled with the team to KC and it’s a good sign if they made the trip. Having key players out hasn’t hurt RSL at all in their four games, but away to SKC is always a big occasion. If the players who are listed as questionable can contribute, that puts RSL in a much stronger position.
A reshaped backline
One of the most devastating injuries is that of center back Justen Glad. After going down with an injury against Nashville, Glad is now listed as out on the injury report with a left hamstring issue. That means we’re likely to see Erik Holt and Johan Kappelhof, but that leaves one place open on the backline. Pablo could shift the team to a 4-back system, with Schmitt and Andrew Brody as the outside backs. That would probably work best in defense, but that creates other problems on the left, particularly with Justin Meram out on international duty with Iraq. If Marcelo is healthy enough to play, that would really easy Glad’s absence.
RSL’s back up goal keeper in Zac MacMath has been very good this season, especially against Nashville last weekend where he kept RSL in that game. He’s played so well that many have question if David Ochoa is the automatic starter when he’s healthy again. MacMath is a good communicator and that greatly helps the team, but he’s also made some good saves and generally been well aware of the attacking danger. Should he be able to put on a similar performance as last week, that goes a long way in helping RSL get a result.
Real Salt Lake
Out: Zack Farnsworth (left ankle), Nick Besler (nose) Bret Halsey (right ankle), David Ochoa (right quad), Justen Glad (left hamstring)
Questionable: Damir Kreilach (left calf), Aaron Herrera (right calf), Marcelo Silva (right toe), Sergio Cordova (right knee)
Sporting Kansas City
Questionable: Uri Rosell (Hamstring), Johnny Russell (Hamstring), Daniel Salloi (Calf), Khiry Shelton (Calf)
Out: Logan Ndenbe (International Duty - Belgium U-21s), Gadi Kinda (Knee Surgery, Jose Mauri (Unavailable), Alan Pulido (Knee Surgery), Marinos Tzionis (International Duty - Cyprus)