By TYLER GRAY
SANDY, Utah – Real Salt Lake have seen more than their fair share of injuries, international call-ups, and suspensions, yet through it all their depth has really shone.
Despite the laundry list of absences–or perhaps because of them–it seems like every match a new player has a breakout performance.
“At the beginning of the season we had a lot of players injured didn’t we,” Kreis said, “so there were opportunities to be had, competition to be had. Guys that came in at the beginning of the season, even though maybe our results weren’t what everybody wanted or expected, we were still performing quite well and those players I think gained confidence from that.”
In the 2013 season, RSL has seen three different goalkeepers mind the net, 27 different players get a start and eight different centerback pairings. Despite all this, RSL has scored a league-leading 39 goals and maintained their place atop the Supporter’s Shield standings.
“Every player in this group right now should be a confident person,” said Kreis. “Because I believe that if not everybody–we’re darn close to everybody–has not only just contributed for the team, but contributed in a positive fashion, contributed to either a road result or a win. Everybody has been a part of something good this year for us.”
Here are some more notes from RSL camp:
SCHULER NEARING HIS RETURN
Defender Chris Schuler has been suffering from foot troubles during the 2013 season, but a return may be near.
The St. Louis native has been a full participant in practice for a couple of weeks now and while he is working towards getting fully fit, he says he is not there just yet.
“The only way you can be 100% is to be playing games and I haven’t done that,” Schuler said. “So I’m definitely not 100% but I do feel good.”
The 6-foot-4 center back isn’t worried about earning his starting spot back but rather is focusing on what he can control.
“I just concentrate on me you know,” Schuler said. “Come out to practice everyday and do everything I can to improve. I haven’t been playing so you have to do a lot more to get back to where you’re at as opposed to maintaining something.”
SALCEDO CLAIMS DEFENSIVE CONSISTENCY KEY TO SUCCESS
Real Salt Lake secured their first shutout victory since their July 13th away game at FC Dallas when they defeated the Houston Dynamo 1-0 this past Saturday.
RSL centerback Carlos Salcedo reflected on the win earlier this week, speaking about the importance of defensive continuity going forward.
“We talked about it,” said Salcedo. “We got to do our best to keep the shutout because with scoring one goal, basically we’ll win the game, and that’s how it’s gonna be from now on.
“Every game is going to be like the playoffs. We got to know how to manage the games.”
The return of fullbacks Tony Beltran and Chris Wingert also helped to bolster RSL’s weakened backline and Salcedo hopes the current back four can continue to play together.
“It feels good to have those guys back,” said Salcedo. “If you check our stats, we’ve been doing pretty good with our back four of Wingert, Beltran, (Nat) Borchers and myself. We’ve just got to keep doing our thing, what we’ve been doing and how we’ve been getting success.”
What are your thoughts on these notes? Which player from RSL has impressed you the most this season? Does a fully fit Chris Schuler win back his starting spot?
Share your thoughts below.