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‘Bare bones’ RSL set to kick off first of three games in a week

First Published      Last Updated May 11 2017 11:03 am

"We're at bare bones right now," Mike Petke said this week before Real Salt Lake boarded its cross-country flight to Boston. That's no hyperbole from RSL's head coach. That's how beat up and thinned RSL still is at the moment.

Already battling an ongoing series of injuries, the club saw Brooks Lennon, Sebastian Saucedo and Danny Acosta take off this week to join the U.S. U-20 national team in Japan for a training camp ahead of the FIFA U-20 World Cup in South Korea. Justen Glad (knee) stayed behind to work more on his fitness and could leave to join the U-20s this week if he shows enough progress.

So here's where RSL stands heading into Saturday's road match at New England:

» Brooks Lennon (U.S. U-20 national team duty)

» Sebastian Saucedo (U.S. U-20 national team duty)

» Danny Acosta (U.S. U-20 national team duty)

» Justen Glad (expected to join U.S. U-20 national team soon)

» Kyle Beckerman (calf, missed last two games)

» Nick Rimando (hamstring, missed last two games)

» Tony Beltran (calf, missed last seven games)

» Jordan Allen (quad, missed last eight games)

» David Horst (knee, missed last eight games)

» Chad Barrett (knee surgery, out 4-to-6 months)

» And a late addition, Albert Rusnák, who did not train Tuesday or Wednesday this week. Petke said Rusnák picked up a knock in the 3-0 loss to FC Dallas last weekend.

So want a theoretical unavailable starting XI for RSL? It looks pretty good on paper.

Rimando; Beltran, Horst, Glad, Acosta; Beckerman, Allen, Rusnák; Lennon, Barrett, Saucedo.

Petke said RSL had 14 field players in full training Wednesday. That includes brand new signing Jefferson Savarino, who just arrived from Venezuela Sunday night. Petke wasn't lying about being bare bones. Having 14 healthy available outfield players does barely exclude RSL from qualifying for the extreme hardship rule.

MLS clubs, should they be below that threshold of 14 available players, are allowed to sign players from their USL affiliates to help round out a game-day roster. RSL utilized the rule once in 2016 — an eventual 2-1 win at Sporting Kansas City.

Petke said Beckerman, Rimando, Beltran, Allen and Horst were all coming along at their own respective pace this week, but didn't sound sold on the possibility of having any of them available for the New England trek, either. This match also kicks off a week of three games for RSL in one week.

After New England, RSL returns home to face New York City FC Wednesday night and then picks up and travels to Seattle two days later to face the Sounders Saturday afternoon at CenturyLink Field.

"No excuses," Petke said, "we just have to put out the best players that we can based on three games in a week going East Coast to West Coast, pretty much. It's going to definitely be a mix-and-match type thing."

How will RSL respond to this weekend with a skeleton crew of sorts?

"At this point, let's leave it all out there," defender Chris Wingert said. "We've been talking about that. No need to be afraid of playing. Let's just go out and enjoy it, have fun and have a huge result on the road.

-Chris Kamrani

Twitter: @chriskamrani




 

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