Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
Saborio and Wingert good to go, Kreis' future unclear
by Ridge Mahoney, December 7th, 2013 3:26AM
Subscribe to Soccer America Daily

TAGS:  mls, real salt lake, sporting kansas city


[MLS CUP COUNTDOWN] Real Salt Lake should get back its two starters, Alvaro Saborio and Chris Wingert, who missed the second leg of the Western Conference final for Saturday's MLS Cup final against Sporting Kansas City (TV: ESPN, UniMas, 4 p.m. ET). Less clear is the future of RSL coach Jason Kreis, whose contract is about to expire and who is rumored to be headed to expansion team New York City FC.

INJURY UPDATE. Of the three RSL players dinged up during the playoffs, the two starters are confirmed as good to go.

Striker Alvaro Saborio (pulled muscle) and left back Chris Wingert (bruised rib) have trained consistently during the two-week break between the conference finals and MLS Cup and though the recovery time may have dulled their sharpness, both are expected to start Saturday against Sporting Kansas City.

SA's MLS Cup Countdown:
Preview: Real Salt Lake rates edge in positional comparisons
Sporting KC: Comes full circle by hosting MLS Cup
Real Salt Lake: The makeover team makes it all the way to final
Television: ESPN goes all out for World Cup Draw and MLS Cup
MLS Cup should be hottest ticket, and coldest final ever

Saborio suffered his injury in the semifinals against the Galaxy and sat out the two-game series against Portland that RSL won, 5-2, on aggregate. Wingert was injured in the first Timbers game and Lovel Palmer stepped in.

RSL may not have one of its catalysts off the bench, however. Rookie forward Devon Sandoval suffered a broken foot after scoring in the first leg against Portland, a 4-2 victory, yet started the second game. He aggravated the injury in training before the team flew to Kansas City and did not train Thursday prior to departure.

PLAYERS COMMENT ON KREIS. RSL coach Jason Kreis has repeated his stance regarding a purported offer from New York City FC, an expansion team set to start play in 2015: there is no decision and won’t be until several days after MLS Cup. RSL owner Dell Loy Hansen upped the ante this week by saying a “substantial offer” to retain Kreis, whose contract is about to expire, was tendered weeks ago.

His players, including many veterans of the 2009 championship team, were blunt in their praise.

“He’s the father of this team,” said midfielder Javier Morales told “I don’t know what he’s going to do, but if he leaves next year, [winning] would be the best thing we could do for him.”

Wingert, another holdover from 2009, said, “We all love Jason. We don’t want him to leave. I think everybody’s on the same page. We love Jason and the rest of his staff and we don’t really want that to change. If it does, it does, and we’ll be happy for him doing what’s best for his family.”

BOX-TO-BOX BATTLE. RSL midfielder Kyle Beckerman is acknowledged as one of the league’s best holding players who can also deliver incisive passes and occasionally get forward. There is no direct counterpart in Sporting Kansas City’s midfield, since its 4-3-3 formation doesn’t jibe with the 4-4-2 diamond used by RSL, but SKC’s game in the middle has been strengthened by the play of veteran Paulo Nagamura.

After sitting out six games at the end of the season with a tweaked ankle, he returned for the second leg of the conference semifinals against New England. SKC has outscored the opponents 5-2 since he came back.

“He's been a monster for us,” Graham Zusi told “Just his energy level has seemed to boost us so much in these playoffs. Honestly, I think without his role I struggle to see us doing as well as we have.”

RSL tends to play a narrow diamond, but by merely spreading out wider could drag Nagamura too far from his midfield mates and carve open large gaps. Nagamura will obviously be tasked with subduing Morales, the RSL playmaker, and he will also need to cover a lot of ground front to back while not drifting too far out of the middle without cover.

Nagamura, 30, came to MLS in 2005 after several years of grooming in the Arsenal youth team. The native of Sao Paulo, Brazil, helped the Galaxy win an MLS Cup that year, and in 2007 bounced to Toronto and Chivas USA before playing a season in Mexico with Tigres. Then it was back to Chivas USA, which traded him to SKC after the 2011 season.

With all that experience plus a powerful engine, Nagamura’s performance on both sides of the ball will be critical. As Beckerman does for RSL, Nagamura must close down space and win balls while also pushing balls into effective spots. He may not square off very often with Beckerman but he will be just as important.

No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now



Recent Soccer America Daily
What They're Saying: Jake Edwards    
"It'll evolve slightly for some of those teams over the coming seasons, I believe. We'll find ...
MLS Decision Day: What's at stake    
The 2016 Supporters' Shield and the final two playoff berths are on the line on Sunday ...
MLS Countdown: Donovan, Gordon are Galaxy wild cards    
Last weekend Landon Donovan started his first game since coming out of retirement yet it was ...
This week in women's college soccer    
Stanford junior Andi Sullivan and BYU senior Ashley Hatch made their national team debuts with the ...
This week in men's college soccer    
One of the most impressive streaks in recent years in men's college soccer is Denver's 32-game ...
What They're Saying: Sigi Schmid    
"I would love to do that, but there's still this thing, stigma, lack of respect or ...
CCL: FC Dallas rallies to clinch group title    
Needing at least a tie to advance, FC Dallas rallied from 2-0 down after 22 minutes ...
USL Final: Red Bulls II favored, but Rangers are ready    
The USL season concludes Sunday at Red Bull Arena, where the home team, New York Red ...
CCL: Seedings give MLS chance of two teams in semis    
Concacaf pairs the teams for the quarterfinals of the Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League by seeding them ...
U.S. U-18 women lose to England, beat France     
The U.S. U-18 women's national team, coached by April Heinrichs, opened the 2016 Women's International Cup ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives