Real Salt Lake-Fire Preview

Thanks largely to success at home, Real Salt Lake is tied for

first place in the Western Conference. That status may be tested as

the club plays twice on the road this week, including at least once

without its starting goalkeeper.

Nick Rimando will be unavailable when Salt Lake visits the

Chicago Fire on Wednesday night.

RSL (7-3-1) will be seeking a third straight win after

consecutive home victories over Toronto and New England, which

improved the team to 5-1-0 on its own pitch.

After giving up an early goal to the Revolution on Saturday,

Salt Lake rallied and won 2-1 behind two goals from Alvaro Saborio

and six saves by Rimando.

“We don’t stop believing,” midfielder Kyle Beckerman said.

“Tonight we went down a goal and there wasn’t any doubt in our mind

that we were going to win this game.”

The win pulled RSL even with San Jose atop the West, but it was

not without a cost. Rimando suffered a shoulder injury and did not

travel to Chicago, and midfielder Will Johnson was sent off for a

red card, which carries a one-game suspension to be served


Rimando has started all 11 games this season for RSL and leads

MLS with 36 saves. He said on his Twitter page that the move is

precautionary and he is optimistic he will be able to return

Saturday at Seattle.

Kyle Reynish is expected to start in Rimando’s place. Reynish,

in his fourth MLS season, has two shutouts in four career starts,

but has not appeared in an MLS game since April 9, 2011.

Salt Lake will try to provide him with some support, something

lacking in recent road games. The club has scored two goals and

given up five while going 0-2-1 in its last three away from


The hectic schedule doesn’t figure to help, with RSL playing for

the second time in five days and another match looming


“It doesn’t really let up on us this year,” Beckerman said. “A

lot of Saturday-Wednesday-Saturday games, so we just need to take

care of our bodies, get in the cold tub and focus on the next


While Salt Lake will have played more matches than any other MLS

team after Wednesday, only Houston has played fewer times than

Chicago, although the light schedule hasn’t seemed to help.

The Fire (3-2-2) will try to win back-to-back games for the

first time this season following Friday’s 2-1 victory at Chivas


Marco Pappa scored the winning goal in stoppage time after

Austin Berry tied it in the 25th minute. Berry was making his MLS

debut while starting for Jalil Anibaba, who was serving a one-game

suspension along with coach Frank Klopas for their roles in an

altercation between Chicago and Seattle the previous week.

“It’s a huge win for us, now we go back home for a homestand the

next couple of games,” said Klopas, who watched the game from a


Chicago, which hosts Sporting Kansas City on Saturday, is 1-1-1

at home.

Only two total goals have been scored in the last six matchups

between Chicago and Salt Lake at the Toyota Center, but Pappa

scored three times in the most recent meeting overall, a 3-0 win

for the Fire in Utah on Sept. 28.