By TYLER GRAY
SANDY, Utah – Real Salt Lake will be focused from the opening whistle when they host the Vancouver Whitecaps at Rio Tinto Stadium this Saturday. After coming out flat against the LA Galaxy and conceding two goals in the first 13 minutes, RSL is ready to put that game behind them and move forward.
“You know, you’re going to have games like that when you’re just not sharp from the get-go,” defender Nat Borchers said. “I think training is the best time to get sharper and we’re putting that game behind us and definitely putting a big emphasis on starting really sharply.”
Borchers, who was the subject of a questionable handball the last time these two teams played in Vancouver said that he isn’t worried about getting even.
“Definitely I’m not thinking about that. Those things are going to happen over the course of a season. I’m just really hoping that the luck swings our way in terms of getting some penalty calls. I know we had four in a row up to that Vancouver game so it’ll be nice to get a couple for us.”
Javier Morales is back in the starting lineup and looking like his old self. He last came off the bench in the previous meeting between these two teams and provided the assist for Olmes Garcia’s beautiful debut goal.
“It’s going be a tough game,” Morales said. “Especially because the last game at home, we lost to the LA Galaxy so we have to be ready for another battle you know? Because we need the three points.”
With the Vancouver game being the last of a three game homestand for RSL, it will be a good chance for the claret and cobalt to pick up three points before heading out on their three game road trip. But RSL aren’t taking their opponent lightly by any means.
“I think it’s a huge challenge playing against them because they’ve got Darren Mattocks,” said Borchers. “They’ve got a lot of pace up there. Obviously you’ve got Reo-Coker who really kind of creates and links between the midfield and the strikers. I think that they’re a very good team and we had a good run at them up in Vancouver.”
“Unfortunate not to get the three points. I think it’s going to be a good challenge.”
RSL DEALT ANOTHER BLOW AT STRIKER
RSL is already missing starting striker Alvaro Saborio, who will be unavailable for at least several weeks as he rehabs a left quad strain suffered last week in training. Now it looks like exciting new striker Olmes Garcia will be questionable for Saturday’s match with an adductor strain, along with Robbie Findley who is experiencing some left knee soreness.
MARTINEZ SENT ON LOAN TO CAROLINA RAILHAWKS
Enzo Martinez has been playing well lately and the technical staff wanted to give him some meaningful minutes. The Railhawks will play three games in the month of May. Martinez, who went to the University of North Carolina, will be only three hours away from his hometown when he suits up for the Railhawks, who are currently in a three-way-tie at the top of the NASL standings.
RSL RESERVES GET A MEASURE OF REVENGE
The Salt Lake reserves were able to lessen the sting of Saturday’s loss when they beat the LA reserves 1 – 0 early Sunday afternoon. The only goal of the afternoon came courtesy of Sebastian Velasquez. Rookie John Sterzer played a ball through to a wide open Velasquez who rounded the keeper and put the ball in the back of the net. The RSL reserves only have one loss on the season and are at the top of the reserve league standings with 11 points through six games.