Toronto FC-Real Salt Lake Preview

Toronto FC-Real Salt Lake Preview

Published May. 4, 2012 1:33 a.m. ET

Real Salt Lake faces a third match in eight days, but having leading scorer Fabian Espindola and top defender Jamison Olave back from suspension should give the club a nice lift.

That's bad news for a Toronto team still looking for its first point.

RSL will try to snap a season-worst three-game winless stretch Saturday night at Rio Tinto Stadium as Toronto FC looks to avoid matching the worst start in MLS history.

RSL (5-3-1) returns home following a rocky three-game stretch on the road, which ended with Wednesday's 1-all draw against FC Dallas. Salt Lake forward Emiliano Bonfigli, a second-half substitute, scored the equalizer in the 72nd minute - his first MLS goal - to help the club avoid a pointless trip.


"Obviously, with the Espindola suspension tonight it was probably more than likely that (Bonfigli) was going to get an opportunity to come in," RSL midfielder Will Johnson told the team's official website. "This game is all about taking your opportunity and he's certainly done that tonight. It's put him in a good spot for more extended playing time in the future."

Espindola, the team leader with three goals, is expected to return to the starting lineup after serving a one-game suspension for picking up a red card in last Saturday's 3-1 loss at San Jose.

Olave, the 2010 MLS defender of the year, was also sent off in that match and is now eligible to return.

RSL, tied with the Earthquakes with a Western Conference-best 16 points, has outscored opponents 5-1 while opening 3-1-0 at Rio Tinto Stadium.

Toronto (0-6-0), meanwhile, has won once in its last 19 road matches and is one loss from tying the 1999 Kansas City Wizards for the worst overall start in league history.

"I'm not a guy who is going to panic or get panicky," Toronto coach Aron Winter told the team's official website Tuesday - three days after a 3-2 home loss to Chicago. "I want the guys to get results and we're going to turn around. It's not a nice situation at this moment.

"The most important thing is to keep everybody together, committed to each other and we have to work hard and that is what we're doing at this moment. It's going to change, I don't know when."

It could be soon if 21-year-old midfielder Reggie Lambe continues to find the back of the net. He scored his first two MLS goals Saturday against the Fire.

"The losses haven't really affected us emotionally or anything like that," Lambe said. "It's just that we need to get off the mark and we just need to get that first win. Once we get that first win I'm sure we'll go on a winning streak."

Toronto, though, has dropped four in a row at RSL since a 2-1 victory in its first visit July 4, 2007.

RSL won 3-1 on June 25 in the teams' most recent meeting in Utah.