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Kyle Beckerman never has missed a season opener since arriving at Real Salt Lake a decade ago. That nine-year run could be in jeopardy as the 34-year-old RSL captain continues to deal with a bone bruise in his left knee that has kept him sidelined this preseason.

The defensive midfielder suffered the injury in the first portion of RSL's three-pronged preseason tour in Arizona in late January and has yet to play a minute of preseason. It's a rare and cumbersome spot RSL finds itself in: A little more than a week away from hosting the 2017 opener against Toronto FC on March 4 with the voice of the team still questionable.

"I think to exclude him from the thought process for next week is a little bit short-sided right now," RSL general manager Craig Waibel said, "but I wouldn't say it's a lock either. It's still mostly evaluating, but at the same time, he's not far off from playing."

Beckerman has been keeping up on fitness off the pitch this preseason, but Waibel said it has been tough to get the group ready for Game 1 without its leader.

"It's been a challenge for the staff without Kyle in there because he's such a big personality and presence," Waibel said. "It's not brain surgery to figure out how important Kyle is to the lineup. Not having him there in preseason is not the end of the world because everyone knows exactly what he brings, but at the same time, there's always a rhythm to get into when everyone's playing together."

This season will be Beckerman's 18th in MLS and 11th at RSL. Beckerman broke the league's all-time record for minutes played by a field player in 2016. He's at 33,775 and counting. Beckerman also holds the MLS record for most appearances by a field player with 406.

Searching for 'special pieces'

Members of the RSL front office have been globetrotting the last few weeks in search of what Waibel hopes is the final piece to their 2017 puzzle.

"[We're] searching for the special pieces, the game-breaking difference-makers," he said, "and we still have the ability to do that."

RSL is in active discussions with two players Waibel said, but he didn't elaborate. MLS is one of the few leagues worldwide right now dealing in an open transfer window, which might hamstring the ability to get a deal done now. This transfer window is open until May 8. The secondary transfer window, which aligns with much of the rest of the world, runs July 10 through Aug. 9.

"Could come down to timing and possibly waiting until the summer," Waibel said, "but we're actively trying to bring another player in right now."

Dunk, Schmidt expected to sign soon

RSL has offered contracts to both 2017 MLS SuperDraft picks Reagan Dunk and Justin Schmidt, Waibel said.

And both deals are expected to be finalized soon. RSL chose Dunk, a right back out of the University of Denver, No. 13 overall before grabbing Schmidt, a center back out of the University of Washington, with the 35th pick in the second round.

Twitter: @chriskamrani