Real Salt Lake: Trio returns from national teams

Published: Thursday, March 31 2011 8:00 p.m. MDT

SANDY — Beginning today, Real Salt Lake will make its final push toward taking care of business in Costa Rica next Tuesday.

Since its emphatic victory over Los Angeles last Saturday, the team has taken three of five days off to recharge mentally and physically for its CONCACAF Champions League semifinal game at Deportivo Saprissa.

RSL won the first leg 2-0 at Rio Tinto Stadium several weeks ago, and is in great shape to become the first MLS team to advance to the CCL final with a solid showing in the second leg.

When coach Jason Kreis' team reconvenes for training sessions this Friday and Saturday at Xango Field in Lehi, he'll have a full complement of players at his disposal as Alvaro Saborio, Will Johnson and Arturo Alvarez have all returned to Utah after an extended stay with their respective national teams.

It will be a short stay in Utah, particularly for Saborio. Having just returned from Costa Rica on Thursday after playing a pair of friendlies with the Costa Rican National Team this past week, Saborio will head right back to his homeland this Sunday on the team's charter flight to San Jose, Costa Rica.

The RSL striker, who played for Saprissa for five years from 2001 to 2006 before heading to Europe, is probably relishing a return home.

By all accounts Saborio played well in Costa Rica's friendlies with China and Argentina the past week, as his country dedicated its new National Stadium.

In the China match last Saturday, Saborio scored one of his team's two goals in the 2-2 draw. In the friendly with Argentina on Wednesday, Saborio got the start in the nil-nil draw.

Saborio wasn't the only RSL player getting in on the scoring with his respective national team.

Johnson delivered the corner kick that teammate Andre Hainault headed in for the only goal in Canada's 1-0 win over Belarus in Antalya, Turkey, on Tuesday.

For the 24-year-old midfielder, the appearance was his 16th with the Canadian National Team, and he's become an integral part of the squad as it builds toward the Gold Cup this summer.

Alvarez, who has played sparingly in RSL's first five games, should be sharp in his return after playing in both matches while away with the El Salvador National Team.

Against Cuba last Thursday, Alvarez got the start in El Salvador's 1-0 victory in Havana. On Wednesday, he started again and played 45 minutes against Jamaica, which pulled off the surprising 3-2 road victory.

Without the trio, RSL put together a fantastic 4-1 result against the Galaxy, and coach Kreis admits he'll have some tough lineup decisions against Saprissa.

EMAIL: jedward@desnews.com

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