SANDY — Signed to be a straight backup for Kyle Beckerman this offseason, Yordany Alvarez will get another opportunity to prove himself this weekend for Real Salt Lake with RSL's captain suspended because of yellow card accumulation.
RSL coach Jason Kreis said it's never easy to play without your captain, but said Alvarez looks in form right now and he's eager to see how Alvarez fares against the Crew.
"Yordany has been playing very, very well as of late. It's good timing for him to get another opportunity," said Kreis. "He's had a couple chances already this year and he's done pretty well with most of those chances."
Alvarez has just one start in league play this season, along with five additional substitute appearances. In that lone start he played 90 minutes in RSL's 3-2 win against FC Dallas on May 26.
Alvarez also started and played 53 minutes in RSL's U.S. Open cup loss to Minnesota on May 29.
RESTING UP: Kreis put his team through a two-hour training session at America First Field on Tuesday, but most of RSL's regulars only participated in about a third of the session.
"We know that we've got three games next week," said Kreis. "We're trying to make smart decisions in the trainings sessions such that we can keep guys fresh for all the matches."
Beckerman, Jonny Steele and Luis Gil were the only regulars for RSL who participated in the entire training session.
Gil said that coming off a pair of home losses last week, there was a bit more intensity to Tuesday's training session.
"I feel like a lot of guys came in and put a little more pressure on themselves and a little more aggression. They were focusing on defensive things that we need to do," said Gil.1 comment on this story
LET THE FOCUS BEGIN: Following practice Tuesday, Kreis was asked what challenges Columbus might present this weekend based on what he'd seen this year.
He didn't dance around the matter and said he hadn't seen Columbus play yet this season and therefore had no idea.
Typically Kreis would've watched a bit of game film on his opponent by Tuesday, but he said he was busy clipping video together for his players about what went wrong the past two games against San Jose and Los Angeles.
The rest of the week will be spent watching game film of Columbus.