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Sandy • Once again, Real Salt Lake's best goal-scorer is also its biggest question mark heading into a key match.

Forward Alvaro Saborio pulled out of training early last week with a calf strain and has missed two games now because of the injury.

Saborio, who leads RSL with nine goals this year, could miss a third.

"We were really hopeful it would be a short-term injury," RSL coach Jason Kreis said Tuesday. "We're hopeful that he'll be available for Friday, I think right now it's 50-50 still."

The 31-year-old Saborio has played in just 12 games for the club this year.

Still talking

Once the season ends, Kreis is without a contract in Salt Lake.

The coach says negotiations are ongoing, but he isn't worried about getting a deal done at the moment.

"It's still moving forward," he said. "There are a lot of games, a lot of things to be worried about right now. The contract is in the back of my mind."

Hard knocks

Tony Beltran has stitches across the bridge of his nose.

Nat Borchers has sported a bandage around his head two games in a row.

Now it's Chris Wingert and Lovel Palmer who are hurting.

The two defenders were running to a ball in training Tuesday and collided hard, banging their heads.

Wingert suffered a cut across his forehead. Palmer left training and received 13 stitches. He is also being monitored for a concussion.

Missing Timbers

Portland has been without its captain, former RSL midfielder Will Johnson, for three straight games after he suffered a shoulder injury against RSL earlier this month. In that stretch, Portland has gone 1-1-1.

"With or without Will, I think they're still a very physical team that's going to get stuck in and battle you all game," RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando said. "But Will has that personality that everybody kind of drives and feeds off of on the field. So maybe they're missing that."

Portland will also be without center back Pa Madou Kah due to yellow-card accumulation.

But don't expect any sympathy from RSL.

"I know that I'm used to playing without players, so you're not going to get any bad feelings from me," Kreis said. "I'm not going to feel sorry for anybody."

afalk@sltrib.comTwitter: @aaronfalk —

Portland at RSL

O Friday, 8 p.m.