In an ideal world, we’d be talking about how Pablo Mastroeni was returning to the club that made him a name across the league; instead, we’re talking about injuries and what might happen there. It’s not an ideal scenario, to be sure.
But a match is what we’ll have, and it’s always a good time when Real Salt Lake faces off against Robin Fraser. And it’s a better time when RSL faces off against Colorado Rapids. I think. Anyway, let’s get on with it.
What RSL needs to do to win
You know, what RSL needs to do to win is I think different from what they need to do in this match. To win, they need to be at their most defensively organized — with 17-year-old Jaziel Orozco in the back, that need becomes even more acute, as good as he looks to be. They also need to score a goal, and we might look toward the bench for that one. I don’t think we’ll see either of Damir Kreilach and Rubio Rubin starting, given the very limited minutes they’ve played, and given we really don’t want to heighten our injury concerns.
What we need to do in this one, to my mind: Avoid further injuries. It’s pretty simple, really. One more center back injury and we are in nightmare territory. I’d like to avoid those nightmares.
Injuries and Absences
- Zack Farnsworth (right ankle) — as per usual.
- Justen Glad (hamstring) — according to Mastroeni, we’re looking at a few more weeks at the very least. Hamstrings are tricky things.
- Bret Halsey (ankle) — he doesn’t even have a number on the RSL squad — I’m not expecting him to play this season.
- Aaron Herrera (left calf) — I don’t know if we rushed him back or what, but going out with a different injury after coming back from injury sure stinks.
- Erik Holt (left foot) — there’s a non-zero change he’s out for the season — he’s definitely going to be out for a pretty big chunk of it.
- Johan Kappelhof (left calf) — the third potential starting center back on this list.
- Jonathan Menendez (adductor) — immediately after a pretty alright performance and start? Ugh.
- David Ochoa (right quad) — at least Zac MacMath has been good, but this really stings, especially given Ochoa’s performances last year
- Bobby Wood (hamstring) — we heard it was precautionary last time, and we also heard that he worked hard to be able to play last Saturday after suffering the injury a day before. But he’s out for this one, too, so let’s please play it safe.
- Jasper Löffelsend (hamstring) — although early indications seem to be that Löffelsend is out for this one. Honestly, if you told me before the season that I’d be disappointed by that, I’d be extremely confused. He’s been surprisingly good.
- Nick Besler (nose) — it sounds like he’s been training in a face mask recently — which could be a good sign. He was in full training, according to tweets from The Hive Sports’ Alex Mower.
Quote of the Match
I’d love to tell you there’s some light. We’re still going through a tough time. Unfortunately, some of these injuries — Kappelhof will be probably three or four weeks; Holt is a whole different kettle of fish, where you’re talking three to six months; Bobby (Wood), we’re optimistic it’ll be two to three, maybe four, weeks; we’re still trying to get Aaron Herrera back, and he hasn’t trained with the team in a couple of weeks. Justen Glad is still probably three to four weeks out. The bright spot is that Dami is now training with the team full, and so now it’s just about working to a level of fitness where we feel he won’t compromise the injury. Rubio is also gaining dynamic movements that he lacked because he didn’t do a preseason with the team.
Source: Pablo Mastroeni on ESPN 700
Predicted Lineup and Formation
Brody, Orozco, Silva, Schmitt
Garcia, Meram, Chang
Bench: Tomas Gomez (GK), Bode Davis, Everton Luiz, Damir Kreilach, Rubio Rubin, Bobby Pierre (Real Monarchs), Pierre Reedy (Real Monarchs)