RSL notes: Plata's back, and so is the diamond
Sandy • Things looked somewhat more familiar for Real Salt Lake fans Saturday night.
The diamond was back.
So was forward Joao Plata, who missed the previous two matches with a left hamstring injury. Plata entered the game tied for a team lead with six goals and also added three assists, despite appearing in just nine of RSL's 14 games this season.
Midfielder Luis Gil also made his second straight start after scoring against Columbus in a 1-1 draw on Wednesday. Gil said he still felt "a step or two slow" against the Crew, but that it's to be expected after going a month without a start.
RSL was however without Robbie Findley, who played 25 minutes against Dallas on May 24 but is still experiencing soreness from offseason knee surgery that caused him to miss six months.
Findley told The Tribune last month that the last thing he expects to come back will be his ability to change direction and decelerate.
Midfielder Cole Grossman returned to the bench after three straight starts against FC Dallas, Seattle and Columbus.
A three-week Major League Soccer break awaits for RSL, but they'll hit the road for a Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup matchup with the Atlanta Silverbacks next Saturday.
A win will pit them against the winner of Orlando City at Colorado Rapids on June 24.
Their next MLS game comes at Chivas USA on June 28.v
Beckerman starts for Stars and Bars
The next time U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann tinkers with his lineup, it'll be in Brazil.
As of Saturday's 2-1 victory over Cup-bound Nigeria in Jacksonville, the status quo includes RSL captain Kyle Beckerman.
Beckerman started at the base of the Klinsmann- and RSL-preferred diamond and played 72 minutes, replaced by Mix Diskerud while the Americans had a 2-0 lead.
The U.S. team will scrimmage Belgium on Thursday from their World Cup base camp in Sao Paulo. They open against Ghana on June 16.
RSL's game Saturday was its fifth without Beckerman, goalkeeper Nick Rimando and Alvaro Saborio, who was due to play for Costa Rica before breaking his foot in practice.