The good news is Real Salt Lake is battling on three fronts. The bad news is it's battling on three fronts, entirely on the road, where it has lost six games in a row.
6-4 loss at Eastern Conference leader D.C. United, RSL opens Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League Tuesday against Municipal at Guatemala City's famed Mateo Flores Stadium. Then it's on to Western
Conference leader Vancouver Saturday before heading to Sporting Kansas City next Wednesday in the semifinals of the U.S. Open Cup.
Real Salt Lake in the
CCL: 2010-11: runner-up 2012-13: group stage Record: 8
wins 4 losses, 4 ties.
While RSL is reportedly close to signing Argentine winger Juan Manuel Martinez from Boca Juniors, who should be a big pickup for the struggling offense, he won't be of immediate help.
A bigger concern is the RSL
defense, which was without goalkeeper Nick Rimando and defender Jamison Olave -- both veterans of RSL's 2010-11 CCL
campaign in which it finished second to Monterrey -- for the 6-4 loss to D.C. United.
Without Olave and Chris Schuler, its other injured center
back, RSL started 18-year-old Justen Glad and Aaron Maund against D.C. United. Neither Olave nor Schuler traveled to
Guatemala City, where RSL arrived Sunday night, so Jeff Cassar's choices are at center back for Tuesday's CCL opener are Glad, Maund or Guatemalan Elias Vasquez, who began his career at Municipal rival Comunicaciones.
Municipal in the CCL: 2010-11: group stage 2012-13: group stage 2014-15: group stage Record: 4 wins 5 losses, 5 ties.
Salt Lake will face a team short on match fitness. Municipal opened the 2015 Torneo Apertura Saturday with a 1-0 loss at Mictlan -- its first Liga Nacional match in more than two months.
Its star is 35-year-old Carlos Ruiz, whose 88 career goals ranked tied for 10th in MLS history. Ruiz joined the Municipal in 2014 and only last week agreed to
return for another season as Municipal seeks its first domestic title since 2011.
Besides, three other Municipal players went to the 2015 Gold Cup: goalkeeper Paulo Motta and defender Dennis Lopez for Guatemala and midfielder Jaime Alas for El Salvador.