Sandy • There was more than one reason to celebrate the Fourth of July on a searing night at Rio Tinto Stadium. Real Salt Lake was back at home, and yes, there were postgame fireworks. However, that was trumped by the return of RSL captain Kyle Beckerman and goalkeeper Nick Rimando to the club’s starting lineup. Away from the club since May 14 with the U.S. men’s national team for the World Cup, the two RSL stalwarts played in their first match since the 5-2 win at Houston on May 11.
In all, the duo missed six Major League Soccer matches as well as the club’s U.S. Open Cup loss on June 14. RSL went 1-4-2 in the seven outings without two of its stars. While the club struggled, Beckerman flourished with the USMNT, starting in all three group stage matches, helping the U.S. escape from Group G, dubbed the "Group of Death."
The 32-year-old RSL captain didn’t start in the Round of 16 matchup against Belgium Tuesday, a 2-1 loss that eliminated the U.S. in Brazil after 120 minutes. In place of Rimando, backup goalkeeper Jeff Attinella posted a 1-3-4 record for RSL, including two clean sheets.
Time to make move?
If it were up to Garth Lagerwey, he’d rather always go with is gut feeling, which is typically to stay pat in the wake of struggles. But as the club’s hot start faded to frozen territory — going winless in five matches and being bounced from U.S. Open Cup play — RSL watched the Seattle Sounders build a 10-point lead on the rest of the league.
Is it time to start making phone calls?
"I wouldn’t say that, no," Real Salt Lake’s general manager said Friday before RSL and the Revolution faced off. "We’re definitely exploring some stuff. With [Alvaro] Saborio being hurt, I think we have to keep our options open. But to be honest, we anticipate Sabo is going to be back this season and soon enough to help us. But we have to establish first that we can right the ship."
Injuries and absences
RSL is dealing with a rash of injuries. Saborio is expected to be out until September or October with a broken foot. Forward Robbie Findley is day-to-day with an adductor strain and midfielder Sebastian Velasquez is also day-to-day with an ankle sprain. Defender Rich Balchan remains out for 4-to-6 weeks with an adductor strain.
Carlos Salcedo remains away in training camp with the Mexican U-21 Olympic team. Aaron Maund, Lalo Fernandez and Justen Glad did not dress.
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