Categorized | Also Noted

RSL looks to get back on track in Portland

Posted on 30 April 2011 by kali

To say that Saturday’s match against the Portland Timbers is a test of Real Salt Lake’s character is perhaps a massive understatement.

Nonetheless, that’s exactly the situation that RSL is faced with in the wake of Wednesday’s tough CONCACAF Champions League loss to Monterrey.  With only a few days’ recovery, Real has to travel to Portland to face a Timbers squad that has featured well so far on the artificial surface at Jeld-Wen Field.

Because of the quick turnaround time between matches, RSL coach Jason Kreis has considered making some changes to his starting lineup.  The Salt Lake Tribune reported that Jamison Olave, Robbie Russell, and Fabian Espindola remained in Salt Lake instead of making the trip with the team; Olave is often held out of games on turf, while Russell’s hamstring has been a concern.

Luckily for Kreis, Real has plenty of depth on the bench — Chris Schuler could replace Olave in the starting eleven, while Paulo Junior may start up front in place of Espindola.  In addition, Kyle Beckerman will be rested and available after being forced to sit out the CCL final through yellow card accumulation.

The mental challenge for RSL after the loss is likely to be the bigger obstacle, however.  Goalkeeper Nick Rimando said of the challenge that awaits Real, “These kinds of games can either break a team or make a team stronger, and I think our team is strong enough to know that this isn’t going to break us up.  We’re going to stay strong and keep on preaching about how we’re a good team and deep team, and how the team is the star.  Right now this is an account of when there’s a tough loss to rebound and forget about it and go on with our season.”

Portland will be looking to rebound from a difficult loss too — the Timbers lost 3-0 in Los Angeles to the Galaxy last week.  Coach John Spencer will have his team trying to limit RSL’s chances early on in the match and play off of the tremendous home advantage that the Portland supporters  have created at Jeld-Wen.

“We are winning games at home because we compete from the first whistle,” Spencer said.

The match will kick off at 8:30 pm MT and can be seen on KMYU 2.2 (Comcast 12 / DishNet 22) in Utah.

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