This year's version of Real Salt Lake may not be as complete or as dangerous as they have been in seasons past but they've still played well enough to land themselves in second place in the West. Jason Kreis has dealt with several big personnel losses during the offseason and a few key injuries to begin this campaign but at 6-5-2 they remain formidable particularly at Rio Tinto Stadium.
RSL is 63-13-20 in its last 96 home games since the start of the 2008 season, including a 3-1-1 mark this year. Getting a result here is no easy task but the Fire have managed to win there before. Of course, goals are needed for victories and the Fire are in the midst of a three game drought. Two consecutive losses to Philadelphia seem to be in the distance as the Fire have added two players who are expected to contribute right away.
The acquisition of defender Bakary Soumare and forward Mike Magee have changed the look of the club in a matter of 48 hours but how soon will they be incorporated into the line-up? Soumare trained with the club Friday afternoon in Utah but Magee was still in Los Angeles while the Fire prepped for RSL and won't join the club until Sunday. It appears Frank Klopas will move Soumare right into the line-up with Jalil Anibaba moving to right back. With Wells Thompson suspended, Mike Videira would be the other available choice if Logan Pause isn't being moved out of midfield. Whether or not Soumare gets the start remains to be seen but he says he's ready if Klopas calls on him.
Projected Line Ups
Johnson; Segares, Berry, Soumare, Anibaba; Duka, Larentowicz, Pause, Lindpere; Rolfe, Nyarko
Real Salt Lake
Rimando; Wingert, Salcedo, Borchers, Beltran; Beckerman, Morales, Grabavoy, Gil; Sandoval, Plata
With both clubs facing midweek USOC matches it's possible that we'll see a change or two in the choices. Expect Frank Klopas to play his best eleven given the need for points. On other hand Jason Kreis has a few more options. Alvaro Saborio is back from injury and fully training so he could get the nod in this game. Kreis can also choose Kwame Watson-Siriboe over the younger, quicker option in Carlos Salcedo. Chris Schuler is out with a hand injury.
Yes....that Chris Penso.
OUT: Arne Friedrich (L hamstring tightness), Steven Kinney (R quad strain), Wells Thompson (R ankle sprain/suspension); QUESTIONABLE: Maicon Santos (R shoulder sprain), Victor Pineda (R ankle sprain), Hunter Jumper (R groin strain), Daniel Paladini (L calf inflammation), Yazid Atouba (R ankle sprain)
Real Salt Lake has not submitted an updated injury report.
RSL is one of the few remaining teams that actually play a diamond with one holding mid and a #10 in the playmaking role. Not many clubs can pull it off but Beckerman's range allows them to do it. They've done it better in the past however. The loss of a player like Will Johnson makes their midfield a little less interchangeable with Grabavoy and Gil playing bigger roles this season.
The best way to handle this match-up may be to wait and counter as Morales and the two front runners attempt to get forward. The porous Chivas USA defense made them look better than they should have last week in a 4-1 pasting and the Goats didn't exactly play a particularly smart match.
Fire 1 RSL 1
The rest of the league
DC 1 Portland 2
Philadelphia 1 Montreal 2
New England 1 Toronto 0
FC Dallas 2 San Jose 1
Colorado 2 Chivas USA 0
Sporting KC 2 Houston 1
New York 1 Columbus 0
Los Angeles 1 Seattle 1
Season record 49/110
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