By TYLER GRAY
SANDY, Utah — For the first time since June 22, Alvaro Saborio was at Real Salt Lake training.
The Costa Rican forward returned on Wednesday from national team duty at the Gold Cup, where his Costa Rica side fell to Honduras, 1-0, on Sunday evening. Due to injuries and international call-ups this season, Saborio has made just eight appearances for RSL.
Despite this, head coach Jason Kreis is hopeful that his prized forward will return to the field against the New York Red Bulls on Saturday.
“He wanted to train today but he just played 90 minutes on Sunday night so this is only two days later,” Kreis said after training. “We don’t let our players typically train on that short turnaround, so we held him back today. But he looks good, looks hungry. (We’re) happy to have him back and hopeful to keep getting our guys back.”
Although he has played just the eight games this season for RSL, Saborio has racked up four goals and two assists. His most recent goal in an RSL uniform was on May 25 against Chivas USA.
Here are some more notes from RSL training this week:
NEW SIGNINGS AND RESERVES GET CHANCES IN RSL LINEUP
The road doesn’t get any easier for Real Salt Lake going forward.
Their 11-match unbeaten streak across all competitions came to a crashing halt this past weekend when Sporting Kansas City rolled into town. When the dust settled after 97 minutes of soccer, RSL were down a man and let three valuable points in the race for the Supporter’s Shield slip away.
In addition, injuries to a number of defenders and international call-ups to the likes of Kyle Beckerman, Nick Rimando, and Tony Beltram on the USMNT have decimated the team roster, forcing youngsters and new signings to step up.
“This year we thought it was going to be hard because we had a lot of change, big change” RSL midfielder Javier Morales said. “But the guys that come in, you know young guys, they’re playing good so they help the team. Now we lose four starters today who went to the national team and we’re still playing good, so that is good for RSL.”
RSL will again have to rely on a number of reserves when they meet the New York Red Bulls on Saturday, with the USMNT trio missing due to international duty and Chris Wingert’s red card suspension. Joao Plata, Abdoulie Mansally, Aaron Maund, and Lovel Palmer will again be among those counted on to bring three points back to Sandy, Utah.
WINGERT RECEIVES TWO MATCH SUSPENSION
RSL defender Chris Wingert was lucky to avoid a red card in the first minute of Saturday’s match against Sporting Kansas City for an especially harsh challenge on Kei Kamara.
While he got off easy at the time with just a yellow card, the MLS Disciplinary Committee has come down on the New York native, issuing him an undisclosed fine and a one-game suspension, which will be tacked on to the red card suspension he received later in the Sporting KC match.
Wingert will not be available for this weekend’s match against the New York Red Bulls nor the August 3rd clash in the Rocky Mountain Cup against the Colorado Rapids. The 31-year-old will be available to return to RSL in the Open Cup semifinal against the Portland Timbers on August 7th.
RSL TO SEE SOME FAMILIAR FACES THIS SATURDAY
During the offseason, Real Salt Lake shocked a lot of observers when they elected to trade away many of their key contributors from seasons past.
Many of these same players will line up across the field on Saturday when RSL visits the New York Red Bulls, and although head coach Jason Kreis wishes them well for everything they’ve done, most of that talk will have to be held until after the match.
“They did a whole ton for this organization, this club, this team and were a part of all of our successes” Kreis said. “So we have nothing to do or nothing to say but to continue to thank them for all of their contributions and wish them well going forward in the future. Of course we hope it’s not going to be well against us, but every other game is fine.”
Fabian Espindola, Jamison Olave and Johnny Steele all have seen significant minutes for the Red Bulls this season after playing with RSL last year.
What do you think of this news? What kind of impact do you expect from Saborio if he plays against the Red Bulls? Impressed with the work of the reserve players getting starting time? Do you agree with the extra Wingert suspension?
Share your thoughts below.