Categorized | Next/Last Up

RSL Returns to Action Against Quakes

Posted on 24 June 2010 by kali

Real Salt Lake will be hoping to capture a little World Cup magic as it plays host to the San Jose Earthquakes on Friday night.

Riding a 16-game unbeaten streak at home and a seven-game unbeaten run overall in league play, RSL is looking to keep the momentum it had before the World Cup break going.  Meanwhile, San Jose will be seeking revenge for the season opener, when Real defeated the Quakes 3-0 at Buck Shaw Stadium.

While San Jose looked at the break as a chance to regroup after a couple of tough losses, including a 2-0 defeat at FC Dallas on June 5, RSL coach Jason Kreis tried to keep his team from becoming complacent after an epic 1-0 victory over the LA Galaxy just before the hiatus, putting his team up against Costa Rican side Puntarenas FC last Saturday.  While Real won 2-0, getting his players more match experience was the key for Kreis.  “We’ve had big, big breaks in the past and struggled when we come back from them,” Kreis said. “Our biggest goal was to get the guys prepared for [this] weekend.”

On the other hand, the time off has helped RSL’s injury situation substantially.  Midfielders Kyle Beckerman (foot) and Nelson Gonzalez (hamstring) have been upgraded to “questionable” for Friday’s match after long-term injuries kept them out for several weeks; Beckerman told The Salt Lake Tribune that he has made significant progress and hoped to return to full training this week.  Striker Fabian Espindola also has a slight hamstring injury, but is expected to start, as Robbie Findley’s absence with the U.S. national team continues to have an impact on the squad.

Meanwhile, the Quakes have a number of injuries of their own with which to contend.  Andre Luiz (knee), Joey Gjertsen (quad), and Eduardo (hip flexor) will not be available, while Scott Sealy (quad) is doubtful and Arturo
Alvarez (hamstring) is questionable.  However, the team recently acquired midfielder Sam Cronin from Toronto FC to help fill out its roster; he is expected to be available for selection Friday.

Despite the injuries, San Jose still poses an attacking threat.  Chris Wondolowski has six goals this season and Bobby Convey has seven assists, while former Real player Ryan Johnson can also be dangerous.  RSL has a full complement of defenders available, however, with Kreis having his pick among Robbie Russell, Chris Wingert, and Tony Beltran at the outside back positions.

The match will kick off at 7 pm MT and can be seen locally on KUSG 2.2 (Comcast 111/Dish Network 12).

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