Sandy • Should Jason Kreis ever decide to take up a new profession, juggler might be a natural fit.
The Real Salt Lake coach has been juggling people all season. He's at it again in preparation for Thursday's contest at Vancouver against the Whitecaps at brand-new BC Stadium.
Vancouver is one of three Major League Soccer teams that have been eliminated from postseason play. The Whitecaps (4-6-10) also lost their first game in the new stadium last weekend. RSL, meanwhile, will be without six regulars.
"We have lots of changes," Kreis said. "We'll see if we can get 18 players on the roster."
Forward FabiÃ¡n EspÃndola is not available for having too many yellow cards. EspÃndola scored his 10th goal of the season against Los Angeles, but also picked up his fifth yellow during Saturday's 2-1 loss.
Newly-signed midfielder Yordany Ãlvarez can't play because of immigration complications. Should the Cuban leave the United States before acquiring the proper resident alien credentials, he wouldn't be allowed back in for 10 years.
Then there are national team obligations for a handful of players Kyle Beckerman (United States), Jean Alexandre (Haiti), Will Johnson (Canada) and Ãlvaro SaborÃo (Costa Rica). Real goalkeeper Nick Rimando has also been called to the U.S. National Team, but he will not leave RSL until Friday.
The hit on the RSL roster could not have come at a more inopportune time. RSL has lost three consecutive games for the first time since 2007 and is in need of something positive.
"We've got to figure a way to get a result right now," Kreis said. "You need results in playoffs. It's time to focus ourselves on that."
Growing in position
Chris Schuler has grown into one of Real Salt Lake's dependable defenders. Although his progress was delayed due to a broken foot toward the end of his rookie season in 2010, the lanky 6-foot-4 third-round pick has run with his chance to play. He's also scored two goals in 2011.
"Playing in back is not my strongest position, but I like playing so it's enjoyable," Schuler said. "I'm a little more comfortable."
Schuler was also pragmatic about Real's loss to Los Angeles. Although the Galaxy scored on two fluke chances, including an own goal, Schuler wasn't looking for moral victories.
"We won the first half and they won the second half," he said. "They're a good team and played well. That's how I look at it."
Real Salt Lake at Vancouver
P Thursday, 7 p.m.
TV • KMYU 2.2/Comcast 22/Dish Network 12