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RSL hosts DC United, hopes to get back to winning ways

Posted on 30 July 2010 by kali

It’s no secret that Rio Tinto Stadium is a difficult place for visiting teams to play.

However, with Real Salt Lake going through a mini-slump as of late, the team will be looking to reaffirm that reputation at Rio Tinto on Saturday night when it plays host to DC United.  After a tough 1-1 draw at home to Chivas USA last weekend, RSL will put its club record 19-game home unbeaten streak on the line again as DC visits the Wasatch Front.

Saturday presents a golden opportunity for Real to get its winning form back ahead of a congested August schedule.  United is just 3-11-3 this season, with only one win and two draws on the road so far.

However, the team has more than just its recent form working against it as the players prepare to face United.  Jamison Olave, Javier Morales, and Nick Rimando all appeared in the MLS All-Star Game in Houston on Wednesday, which could have some effect on Kreis’ starting lineup.  Although Olave and Rimando only played one half on Wednesday, Morales played about 60 minutes in the heat and humidity.  Regarding Morales’ fatigue levels, Kreis told The Salt Lake Tribune, “We’ll have to talk to him and see how he feels.”

Meanwhile, Kyle Beckerman’s return to action last week gives Kreis some additional flexibility at central midfield.  Though Beckerman and defender Robbie Russell are both listed as probable for Saturday’s match, both should be in contention for starting roles against DC.

United coach Curt Onalfo, on the other hand, is dealing with a spate of injuries.  Midfielders Brandon Barklage and Juan Manuel Pena, goalkeeper Andrew Quinn, and defender Rodney Wallace are all out with long-term injuries.  In addition, defenders Marc Burch, Dejan Jakovic, Devon McTavish and strikers Adam Cristman and Chris Pontius have less-severe issues that have them listed as probable for Saturday.

However, despite the injuries, DC has several talented players that could pose problems for Real.  Andy Najar, who vexed the RSL defense during the teams’ last meeting at RFK in June, is quickly growing into an impact player and has three goals so far this season.  New signings Branko Boskovic and Pablo Hernandez will also be looking to kickstart their MLS careers as they integrate into the United roster.

The match will kick off at 7 pm and can be seen on the MLS Direct Kick package.

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