Real Salt Lake: Kyle Beckerman nears 100 percent, while Chris Schuler is questionable
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
SANDY — After missing last Saturday's 1-0 victory over Chivas USA, Real Salt Lake captain Kyle Beckerman should be available for his team's upcoming bout against the L.A. Galaxy.
"It's feeling a lot better," said Beckerman, referring to the rib injury that's kept him out, following RSL's training session Wednesday. "I think it was huge taking a couple of days and letting it heal instead of, 'Let's try today' and then strain it, and then try again the next day. It was like, 'Let's just let it heal.' It seemed to be the right advice from the training staff."
Beckerman sustained the rib injury the day before RSL's 1-1 draw with Vancouver on April 13.
Meanwhile, Galaxy counterpart Landon Donovan will be on hand Saturday night at Rio Tinto Stadium after returning from a sabbatical just over two weeks ago. Beckerman had kind words to say about his USA teammate, including Donovan's fitness level since coming back.
"It's just natural to him. He doesn't need much practice to get his fitness back," said Beckerman. "(Donovan) automatically has a level that some people don't even reach."
Saturday marks the second of three consecutive games at Rio Tinto, and with players like Chris Wingert, Sebastian Velasquez and even Javier Morales on the brink of complete recovery from injuries it seems like the perfect time for RSL to catch fire.
"It was really just about treading water in the beginning — get some points here and there — and then take care of business as people get healthy and we get more home games," said Beckerman.
A win Saturday would not only move RSL (11 points) into sole possession of second place in the Western Conference, but also inch closer to Supporters Shield-leading FC Dallas (19 points). And with just shy of a third of the MLS season in the books, Beckerman stressed the importance of improving day to day as a team.
"Always what we are trying to do is improve during the season," said Beckerman. "We've seen these past few years that the team that gets the hottest in the playoffs is the team that’s going to win."
CHRIS SCHULER INJURY: The RSL backline was dealt a bad hand Saturday night — literally — when defender Chris Schuler suffered a fracture in his left hand. After successful surgery this past Sunday, Schuler was able to go through a full training session Wednesday and is determined to be on the pitch at Rio Tinto come Saturday.
"I feel great," said Schuler. "I practiced full today, so everything looks good."
If RSL coach Jason Kreis doesn't reach for Schuler this Saturday, the defender stressed the importance of earning a result with three points at home.
"I think every game at home is important. Definitely trying to come out with a win, especially after we had that big road stint earlier in the season," said Schuler. "They're back-to-back champions, and that adds something to the game no matter what."
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