Brian Nicholson, Deseret News
SANDY — Lightning delays have kind of become an annual event for Real Salt Lake.
Saturday's 84-minute delay against D.C. United was the third straight year RSL has been forced to wait out a mature nature side show, and the fourth in team history.
The first lightning delay in franchise history occurred in Chicago back in 2006. RSL led 1-0 when the 58-minute delay began in 68th minute, but ended up losing the match 2-1.
The only other lightning delay in Rio Tinto Stadium history occurred against the L.A. Galaxy in 2010, a 37-minute delay that began in the 11th minute. Real Salt Lake ended up winning the match on a late Javier Morales goal.
Last year's lightning delay at FC Dallas was perhaps a blessing in disguise. With the game level at 0-0 heading into the final 10 minutes, Real Salt Lake was noticeably running out of gas. When the ref stopped the match in the 83rd minute, RSL used the two-hour delay to regroup and salvage an important 0-0 draw.
Saturday's lightning delay began just over three minutes into the match and lasted nearly an hour and a half while two separate storm cells created a spectacular lightning display all around Rio Tinto Stadium.
NEARING HIS RETURN: RSL defender Chris Schuler was on the 18-man game day roster for the second straight game on Saturday.
It was a welcome sight for coach Jason Kreis, who's been without his young center back for the past four months while Schuler recovered from a stress fracture in his foot.
Earlier in the week Kreis said that Schuler's fitness is the only thing holding him back from making a return to the starting lineup. His last appearance came on May 12 in Seattle.
MAKING HIS MARK: Schuler's injury has allowed RSL newcomer Kwame Watson-Siriboe to make a big impression.
With his 90-minute performance on Saturday, he's now logged 738 minutes of MLS play since being traded from Chicago earlier this summer. In his previous two and a half years in MLS, he played in just 681 minutes.
MISSING IN ACTION: Robbie Russell, who was traded from Real Salt Lake to D.C. United in the offseason, was not in the starting lineup for D.C. United on Saturday.
It was the eighth straight game Russell, 33, has missed because of a foot injury. Prior to the injury, Russell had been a fixture in the starting lineup for his new team, starting 16 of 18 games.
Russell spent three and a half years with Real Salt Lake prior to being traded, and famously scored the MLS Cup-clinching penalty kick against Los Angeles in 2009.
Russell paid his own way to travel with D.C. United to his old stomping grounds in Utah.
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