Nick Rimando became the fourth Real Salt Lake player added to his national team's CONCACAF Gold Cup roster on Monday. Fortunately for RSL, though, the league's best goalkeeper isn't expected to miss any games next month unlike the other three.
Rimando is the third keeper on the U.S. National Team roster behind Tim Howard and Marcus Hahnemann, and he'll only be called into U.S. camp if there's an injury to one of the other two keepers.
Group play for the Gold Cup runs from June 5 through June 14; the knockout matches are June 18-25.
Even though Real Salt Lake likely won't be forced to play without Rimando, who leads MLS with a 0.29 goals against average, the Gold Cup has already had an impact on player availability.
Alvaro Saborio (Costa Rica) and Arturo Alvarez (El Salvador) both departed Monday to join their respective national teams a night after starting for their club team.
Fortunately for RSL, Will Johnson won't be leaving to join the Canadian National Team until after this Saturday's match against visiting Seattle.
Once Johnson departs, Real will be without three starters — four if you count Javier Morales — for a minimum of three matches next month, June 4 (Vancouver), June 8 (Columbus), June 11 (Philadelphia).
If Canada, Costa Rica and El Salvador advance out of group play, Johnson, Saborio and Alvarez might not be available for Real Salt Lake's later matches on June 18 (D.C. United), June 22 (Chicago) and June 25 (Toronto FC).
For a team that's already struggling to score goals with back-to-back shutouts, losing three attacking players isn't ideal.
Coach Jason Kreis has often praised the depth of this team, and it will definitely need to prove itself in the coming weeks if Real Salt Lake is going to stay near the top of the MLS standings.
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