Returning to the road after a short stay at home for a confidence-building victory, Real Salt Lake looks to keep its resurgent momentum going.
The Claret-and-Cobalt head into their 31st match of the season tonight at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., where they take on former assistant coach Robin Fraser and Chivas USA at 8:30 p.m. The match will be televised live on CW30.
Salt Lake is 2-0-0 at the Home Depot Center this season, scoring a win over the L.A. Galaxy in their season opener and then a 3-0 win on June 16 in the first match back from the FIFA international window break.
Real will have to contend with the Goats minus central defender Jamison Olave, who is suspended for the match due to caution accumulation. The starting nod will likely go to Chris Schuler, who is quickly working himself back into minutes contention after missing three months.
“I was seriously considering playing (Schuler) Saturday and giving one of the other two (Olave and central defender Nat Borchers) a rest,” RSL boss Jason Kreis told MLSSoccer.com earlier this week. “It forces my hand, and I’m actually kind of glad of it because I think Schuler is very much ready and chomping at the bit and deserves the chance.”
Alvaro Saborio is likely to sit out again this weekend as his sprained right shoulder continues to heal. With critical contests coming up on the road against three-straight playoff bound teams, it’s pretty unlikely that Kreis would risk Saborio’s health against last-place Chivas.
This will be the 23rd all-time meeting between the Class of 2005 rivals, and the third of the season. Chivas captured a 1-0 win at Rio Tinto Stadium on March 24, with RSL returning the favor in June. Chivas leads the series 10-8-4 and is 7-4-1 in Carson, Calif., against Real.
Salt Lake, which clinched its fifth straight playoff berth with last weekend’s win over Portland, is tied with the Galaxy for second on the Western Conference table, and sits one point ahead of Seattle. The Sounders, however, have played one fewer match than Real or L.A.
The Sounders are at Vancouver, which currently occupies the fifth and final western playoff spot, while Los Angeles travels to Colorado to face the Rapids on Sunday night.