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RSL: Short turnaround leaves little time for rest

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Nat Borchers

By Aaron Falk

The Salt Lake Tribune

First published Aug 25 2013 04:48PM
Updated Feb 14, 2014 11:32PM

Real Salt Lake could probably use an extra day of rest.

It won’t get one.

After playing three games in an eight-day stretch, RSL has a short week to prepare for a rematch with the Portland Timbers on Friday night. But if the team is going to have a quick turnaround, defender Nat Borchers is happy to have it come after RSL’s dominant performance over the Columbus Crew on Saturday.

"I feel pretty good right now," Borchers said in the locker room after the 4-0 victory. "I think that when you keep the ball like we did tonight, there’s less running for us in the back because there’s less opportunity for them to counter. Every time they counter, it’s an 80-yard sprint to goal. We didn’t have to do that much tonight."

Real had more than 65 percent of the possession and dictated the tempo of the game. But even if Borchers felt his workload was limited, the defender was one of four players to go the full 90 minutes in each of the team’s last three games.

Afterward, coach Jason Kreis praised Borchers, defenders Tony Beltran and Chris Wingert, and midfielder Javier Morales for their efforts.

"A huge amount of credit has to go to the players that played 90 three times this week," Kreis said. "I thought they had fantastic energy down the stretch."

Midfielder Ned Grabavoy put in complete games in L.A. and Portland and begrudgingly left Saturday’s victory in the 87th minute so as not to avoid the possibility of a card.

"Ned Grabavoy is my hero," Kreis said after the game. "Just in the locker room, I had no idea that he wasn’t feeling well. He was extremely disappointed to come out of the match."

Borchers said he and his teammates "are going to have to be smart about our bodies" this week, with a big game against the Timbers looming.

Salt Lake is 1-0-1 against Portland in all competitions this year, beating the Timbers in Open Cup play and pulling out a 3-3 draw last week thanks to a stoppage-time goal from midfielder Cole Grossman.

RSL captain Kyle Beckerman, who was forced to watch the Portland game on TV while serving a one-game suspension for yellow-card accumulation, said the break "definitely didn’t hurt."

"There’s a lot of soccer left," he said. "It was a good little breath of air, and now it’s time to pick things up. I’m sure some guys are tired and stuff, so it’s important for myself to pick them up."

afalk@sltrib.comTwitter: @aaronfalk

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