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Real Salt Lake: In wake of attacking struggles, RSL still searching for goal No. 1 in 2017

First Published      Last Updated Mar 14 2017 08:17 pm


Real Salt Lake » Team’s offense has registered only four shots on target this season.

Sandy • Real Salt Lake held a team meeting at Rio Tinto Stadium before stepping onto the training field Tuesday morning. The message was obvious for an RSL group still struggling in front of goal: Seize the opportunities created.

Two matches in, RSL (0-1-1) hasn't. And that has led to anxiety among the fan base after the power outage at the end of last year. RSL coach Jeff Cassar said putting the first one in the back of the net not only should ease the tension on the field but also open up the opposition's defense to chase for more.




"There's no way everyone can be feeling wonderful about not scoring in two games," he said.

Cassar said he doesn't care where the goal comes from. Off a set play, from a forward or defender — it doesn't matter. He believes the psychology of seeing the ball hit twine will lead to more. RSL has 29 shots in its first two outings, but only four of them were on goal. The final ball — the one that precedes the season's inaugural goal — has to be perfect, Cassar said.

That was a point of emphasis Tuesday and will continue to be throughout the week before RSL hosts a struggling new-look L.A. Galaxy (0-2-0) team Saturday night in Sandy.

"I think, of course, we want to be scoring a ton of goals already," RSL captain Kyle Beckerman said. "It's not happening, but basically the only thing we can do is just keep working hard in practice every day and try and get better at it."

Injury report

The list of banged up RSL starters isn't what it was last week. Center backs Aaron Maund (hamstring) and Chris Schuler went through an entire training session Tuesday. Starting wide forwards Joao Plata (hip) and Jordan Allen (quadriceps) went through rehab drills with the RSL training staff.

It appears Maund and Schuler are back in contention for Saturday's match against the Galaxy, but Plata and Allen remain question marks.

This early in the week, Cassar said it's a matter of whether Plata and Allen could train Wednesday and progress from there.

"Listen, this is a tough league," Cassar said, "and you've got to be playing at 100 percent to have an impact. The goal isn't just to be playing, it's to be playing at the level that you need to."

Center back Justen Glad (knee) remains on a week-to-week timeline after suffering his injury playing for the U.S. Under-20 national team in the CONCACAF Championship final in Costa Rica over a week ago.

Rusnák gets the call

RSL's new attacking midfielder has a long trip ahead of him next week.

Albert Rusnák, the club's prized offseason signing, was called onto the Slovakian national team's roster for its upcoming World Cup qualifying match at Malta on March 26. The 22-year-old is expected to join the Slovakian national team after RSL's match against the Galaxy on Saturday.

Rusnák has one career senior-team appearance for Slovakia, which sits third in its six-team qualifying group at 2-2-0.

The winner of that group, currently headlined by England at 3-0-1, automatically qualifies for the 2018 World Cup.

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