Harrison, N.J. • Real Salt Lake may be as deep a team as there is in MLS, but Saturday's 4-3 loss to the New York Red Bulls proved just how much they need their starters back.
Missing half a dozen regulars due to a combination of international duty, injury and a suspension, Real Salt Lake struggled for much of a 4-3 loss to New York at Red Bull Arena on Saturday night. The Red Bulls jumped out in front early and were the more dangerous side for much of the match, but a hat-trick performance from Alvaro Saborio managed to give RSL a late 3-2 lead they would relinquish in the dying moments.
"It will be huge," said Real Salt Lake coach Jason Kreis of the benefit of getting players back once the CONCACAF Gold Cup ends on Sunday. "It will be huge to get [Nick] Rimando, [Kyle] Beckerman and [Tony] Beltran back. To get our whole group back together should be a big, emotional uplift for the team."
While RSL has fared mostly well in the absence of several of their top players this season, the last two weeks have shown just how much they need starters like Beckerman and Rimando to return. Saborio's inspired performance against New York in his return from international duty is a testament to that.
"It's going to be very important [to have them back]," said Saborio. "We have to see how they do in the final but we're going to welcome them like we always do, like the players welcomed me back: with lots of humility and like the family we are."
The arrival of the American trio currently with the U.S. men's national team will undoubtedly give RSL a boost, but so will the returns of the other players who are currently unavailable, whenever it is that they come back.
"Today, they weren't here and we should have found a way to see this game off without them," said Javier Morales. "But we couldn't do it."