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Real Salt Lake goes to bench with effect
by Paul Kennedy, March 20th, 2014 7:24PM

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TAGS:  mls, real salt lake

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[MLS WEEK 3: Preview] No MLS team has shown more consistency in recent years than Real Salt Lake. Like Jason Kreis before him, Jeff Cassar has had to look far down RSL's long bench for help, and he will need it again for its home opener Saturday against LA Galaxy.

Real Salt Lake's deep bench played a key role in the its march to MLS Cup 2013 as Sebastien Velasquez and Devon Sandoval came on to have big games in the Western Conference playoffs. Both are currently sidelined as early-season injuries have tested RSL. No problem: other reserves have come up with big games as RSL opened up with a 1-0 win at the Galaxy and 3-3 tie at San Jose. RSL led the Quakes by two goals with 15 minutes, but the mood in the RSL camp was surprisingly positive after the late game collapse. Returning from StubHub Center and Buck Shaw Stadium with four points was still a great start, given the patchwork lineups Cassar had to put out.

Chris Schuler, whose career has been riddled by foot problems, missed the first two games of the season. Aaron Maund started in Schuler's place in the first two games, but he finds himself now sidelined with a hamstring injury. Schuler is questionable for Saturday, but Cassar can always go with Carlos Salcedo, the second-year pro out of Mexico via its academy program who made 12 starts in 2013.

Up front, Robbie Findley, who started in RSL's run to the 2013 MLS final, remains sidelined, but Joao Plata already has two goals in two games in his place, and there's also young Colombian Olmes Garcia, whom Cassar wants to get playing time.

In midfield, Luis Gil ran the point of the RSL diamond while Javier Morales sat out last weekend, but the Argentine could return his week. With Velasquez sidelined, Englishman Luke Mulholland, whose pro experience has been in USL PRO and the NASL, got the start against the Quakes in Gil's normal spot on the outside and scored his first MLS goal.

RSL's only other first-year player is rookie Jordan Allen out of the University of Virginia, but he picked up an ankle injury against the Quakes and is also questionable for Saturday.

On a positive note: After going down with back spasms in the match against San Jose -- the first time he's ever experienced them -- goalie Nick Rimando reported that he woke up the next day and felt fine as if nothing had ever happened.

MLS Standings:
EASTERN CONFERENCE
PTS TEAM W-L-T GF/GA
6 Houston 2-0-0 5/0
4 Philadelphia 1-0-1 2/1
3 Columbus 1-0-0 3/0
3 Toronto FC 1-0-0 2/1
1 Sporting KC 0-1-1 1/2
------------------------------
1 Chicago 0-1-1 3/4
1 New York 0-1-1 2/5
0 Montreal 0-2-0 2/4
0 D.C. United 0-1-0 0/3
0 New England 0-2-0 0/5

WESTERN CONFERENCE
PTS TEAM W-L-T GF/GA
4 FC Dallas 1-0-1 4/3
4 Real Salt Lake 1-0-1 4/3
4 Vancouver 1-0-1 5/2
4 Chivas USA 1-0-1 4/3
3 Seattle 1-1-0 2/2
-----------------------------
2 Portland 0-0-2 2/2
1 San Jose 0-0-1 3/3
1 Colorado 0-0-1 1/1
0 LA Galaxy 0-1-0 0/1
-------------------------------------------------------------
MLS: Leading Scorers
G PLAYER, TEAM
3 Will Bruin
, Houston
2 Victor Bermudez
, San Jose
2 Jermain Defoe
, Toronto FC
2 Gaston Fernandez
, Portland
2 Sebastian Fernandez, Vancouver
2 Federico Higuain
, Columbus
2 Joao Plata, Real Salt Lake
2 Erick Torres
, Chivas USA

MLS SCHEDULE, Week 3:
Saturday, March 22,
2 pm ET
New England vs. Vancouver MLS LIVE
4 pm ET
Montreal vs. Seattle Univision Dep. MLS LIVE
Real Salt Lake vs. LA Galaxy NBCSN
4:30 pm ET
Toronto FC vs. D.C. United MLS LIVE
6 pm ET
Columbus vs. Philadelphia MLS LIVE
Colorado vs. Portland MLS LIVE
8:30 pm ET
FC Dallas vs. Chivas USA MLS LIVE
Sporting KC vs. San Jose MLS LIVE
Sunday, March 23
3 pm ET
Chicago vs. New York UniMas

MLS SCHEDULE, Week 4:
Saturday, March 29
4 pm ET
Philadelphia vs. Montreal MLS LIVE
D.C. United vs. Chicago NBCSN
6 pm ET
Colorado vs. Sporting KC MLS LIVE
7 pm ET
Vancouver vs. Houston MLS LIVE
8:30 pm ET
FC Dallas vs. Portland MLS LIVE
9:30 pm ET
Real Salt Lake vs. Toronto FC MLS LIVE
10 pm ET
Seattle vs. Columbus MLS LIVE
10:30 pm ET
San Jose vs. New England MLS LIVE
Sunday, March 30
3 pm ET
New York vs. Chivas USA UniMas


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