Sandy • Facing the frustrating reality of dealing with the stubborn healing of a broken foot, Devon Sandoval’s long journey back to a match-day roster was completed Saturday night.
The second-year forward, who scored seven goals in all competitions in his rookie campaign for Real Salt Lake in 2013, was officially made available for selection for the first time since Nov. 24, 2013, cracking the 18-man roster against visiting Toronto FC Saturday night at Rio Tinto Stadium.
"I feel pretty good, actually," Sandoval said Friday. "I’m really happy with how this week went, and I just need to keep it going from here."
Sandoval went through full training sessions Wednesday through Friday for the first time in months, leaving RSL coach Jeff Cassar primed to give the striker a look as the team battles through various injuries all over.
"The soccer will come," Cassar said Friday, "but really, [it’s about] working on his fitness, on his touch and just making sure we’re progressing enough to where he doesn’t have any setbacks. But he’s been great. He hasn’t been sore at all, which is fantastic."
Jurgen in the house
Jurgen Klinsmann was at Rio Tinto Stadium Saturday night checking in on four of his players. The U.S. men’s national team head coach called in RSL’s Kyle Beckerman, Nick Rimando and Luis Gil along with starting XI staple Michael Bradley of Toronto FC for Tuesday’s international friendly against Mexico in Glendale, Ariz.
Rimando is 10-0-0 in his career starting for the USMNT, while Beckerman’s 34 appearances for the U.S. were highlighted by a breakout 2013 year in which started in nine of his 10 matches, including a 90-minute performance against Mexico on Sept. 10, 2013. The U.S. qualified for the World Cup in its 2-0 win over its rivals that evening in Columbus, Ohio. Gil, 20, made his senior team debut on Feb. 1 in a friendly against South Korea.
"You always want to show a little bit more to [Klinsmann], but I just feel like I’ve got to do what I’ve got to do and that’s what I feel like he’s calling me up for is the way I play," Gil said.
As many as seven World Cup hopefuls were on the the field at Rio Tinto Stadium Saturday night. U.S. hopefuls: Beckerman, Rimando, Gil and Bradley; Brazil: Julio Cesar; England: Jermain Defoe; Costa Rica: Alvaro Saborio.
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