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Sandy • The last time Robbie Findley walked out from underneath the tunnel and into a roaring stadium was Dec. 7, 2013. The 28-year-old Real Salt Lake forward, having missed the last six months due to offseason knee surgery six days after he started in the 2013 MLS Cup final in Kansas City, Kan., returned to a match-day lineup Saturday night.
The long, excruciating wait is over.
Findley was named to RSL's 18-man game-day roster against visiting FC Dallas.
RSL coach Jeff Cassar said earlier this week that Findley's progression would force the coaching staff to take a hard look at including the speedster in the 18. Findley played 62 minutes in his first official return from knee surgery on May 18 in the club's 2-0 reserve-league win over the Colorado Rapids.
"I think he's really close to being 100 percent," Cassar said this week. "He's responded well to the minutes that he played, which is really key, too. We thought maybe he'd be sore or hurting for a little bit, but he came back strong."
Findley's surgery, performed to repair a torn right patella tendon after playing for nearly 18 months consecutively through Dec. 2013, is behind him. He said Friday he isn't at 100 percent, but is getting there. There have been no setbacks, he added.
"That's the last thing that will is the deceleration and changing of directions," he said. "It's something that I've just got to be patient with and continue doing my therapy."
Three World Cups and running
Seems RSL has a World Cup pipeline.
With the official inclusion of RSL captain Kyle Beckerman and goalkeeper Nick Rimando in Jurgen Klinsmann's 23-man U.S. men's national team roster for this summer's FIFA World Cup in Brazil, RSL will now have had at least one player represent a spot with the Americans at the worldwide event every four years. Defender Eddie Pope was RSL's first in 2006 during the World Cup in Germany, while Findley followed suit on the 2010 U.S. squad, starting three of the four matches the Americans played in South Africa.
RSL, the L.A. Galaxy and the defunct MLS side Tampa Bay Mutiny are the only three MLS sides to put a player on an U.S. squad for every World Cup during the club's existence.
Streak? What streak?
With the continuous talk of how RSL has remained unbeaten 11 matches through the 2014 season, defender Nat Borchers said there are more important things to focus on.
"It's always fun to get results, for sure," he said. "I think, again, we could be playing better, we could be getting more shutouts, for sure, and we still have a little ways to go to tighten up the screws."