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
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.