Sandy • Real Salt Lake was short-handed for Tuesday night's CONCACAF Champions League showdown against Herediano at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Forward Alvaro Saborio missed the match because of yellow cards, while defender Jamison Olave (hamstring) and midfielder Ned Grabavoy (quad) were not available because of injury.
On the other hand, forward Fabian Espindola played after being called "50-50" by coach Jason Kreis on Sunday, when he left a training session because of general body soreness.
Espindola had three goals and three assists in the last four games heading into the match against Herediano.
Asked why Espindola has been so effective lately, Kreis said, "I see a little bit more reaction. He has a tendency to be so incredibly critical of himself and, when he does that, it starts a vicious cycle and ends up affecting him. ...
"He's just been a little more relaxed recently, and that puts him in a good place to succeed."
Johnson glad to be back after 8-1 loss
After what happened to the Canadian men's national team last week, midfielder Will Johnson seems happy to be back with Real Salt Lake.
Honduras ended Canada's hope of qualifying for the World Cup with a stunning 8-1 victory on Oct. 17.
That's right: 8-1.
"Obviously, we just got it wrong," Johnson said. "We had a bunch of guys who had their worst performance in a national team jersey all on the same day. It went downhill quickly."
Johnson credited Honduras for taking advantage of Canada's sub-par performance.
"We got punished by a team that was very good on the day," he said. "It happens. It's football. It's not going to kill the program. [But] it was a huge setback after the positive games we'd had. That was the biggest shock. We had been playing so well."
Real heating up
RSL took a monthlong hot streak into its battle with Heredino.
Including Major League Soccer and Champions League games, Real Salt Lake had gone 6-1-3 and outscored its opponents, 12-3, in its previous 10 matches.
Said Kreis: "Four weeks ago, we said, 'Our playoffs start now.' And I feel the guys took that message to heart. Every training session has been very, very good. ...
"All the players have been eager to contribute in any way they can. When we do that when we get in that mode then we usually see good performances."