This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Sandy • The emergence of Joao Plata alongside Alvaro Saborio has been a major breakthrough for Real Salt Lake early on in 2014. The 22-year-old Ecuadorian started his season off with a bang scoring goals in each of the first two matches, while notching two assists.
While Plata's stellar cross led to Saborio's goal and an eventual RSL lead Saturday, injury again hit the club where it continues to be pained with untimely injury after untimely injury. In pursuit of a long pass sent his way, Plata pulled up lame in his foot race with Galaxy defender A.J. DeLaGarza, grabbing at the back of his left leg in the 27th minute.
After trying to give it another go, Plata's injury forced him off in the 34th minute with a left hamstring strain, described as moderate, as Olmes Garcia took his place up top.
"Not sure how long it's going to be," said RSL coach Jeff Cassar of Plata's timetable to return.
For the first time since the 2013 MLS Cup final in Kansas City, Chris Schuler stepped onto the field. The RSL center back, working his way back from offseason foot surgery, made his 2014 MLS debut with his start against the Galaxy. Schuler underwent offseason foot surgery to remove bone spurs from his left ankle the week after MLS Cup final in mid December, an injury that had been plaguing him for the previous 18 months.
"I was really pleased," Cassar said of Schuler's first performance of 2014. "We'll see how he's feeling tomorrow, because that's the key with Chris, is how he does the next day. We'll watch him closely."
Unbeaten in home openers
Following RSL's 1-1 draw against the Galaxy Saturday afternoon in Sandy, the club improved to 4-0-6 in its last 10 home openers. Now having gone through six home openers within Rio Tinto Stadium, RSL is 3-0-3 in those matches.