Real Salt Lake defender Chris Schuler missed four and a half months this season because of a foot injury, virtually the same injury that sidelined him for five months a year ago. Since his return on Sept. 28, Real Salt Lake is 2-0-2 in league games and is looking strong defensively. Earlier this week Schuler caught up with Deseret News writer James Edward about his recovery and what is required to get a result in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinal series.
Q. The last time Real Salt Lake played the Galaxy you watched from home on a TV as L.A. rolled to a 4-2 victory. With you expected to be in the starting line-up for Game 1 this Sunday, there seems to be a renewed confidence defensively in this team, that you guys will be much against the Galaxy.
A. I think our team can be good against any team, always. I definitely think we’ve done pretty good over these last few games. There was that dead ball goal by Chivas, but I think we’ve been solid. There haven’t been a whole bunch of chances, there’s always chances, but we haven’t given up a whole bunch, which is always positive especially looking forward to a big game in a big match against a big opponent.
Q. How tough was it for you personally to go through the same injury you went through last year?
A. It definitely wasn’t easy. You try and stay positive and take it a day at a time and we’re here focusing on what’s next.
Q. Reflecting on last year’s injury and going through it again this year, did it help you with the recovery knowing a bit more of what to expect and when you were healthy enough to play again?
A. The thing that helped me the most was the support of the coaching staff and the whole organization, the fans, my teammates every day. I was the one who wanted to play, and a lot of times I was being held back versus the opposite where people get in bad situations where they being pushed to come back early cause their team’s struggling. I didn’t have to dealt with any of that.
Q. The Galaxy with Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan are such good trying players, what do you guys need to do this Sunday to try and limit their scoring opportunities?
A. Just play hard good defense. They tune in the whole time, and be ready to work. They’re going to pull you apart, you’re not always going to be on top of the game, they’re going to put you in some compromising situations. I feel like a lot of goals given up in most games aren’t just one brilliant play, a lot of times it’s a series of mistakes. If we can cut down on those, covering for each other, I think we can do a good job to limit them.
Q. Opening the playoffs against the two-time MLS Cup champs, is this a great opportunity for you guys to make a statement?
A. Of course, it’s a big game versus a big opponent in the playoffs, which are always big games. They’re two-time champs coming in and they’ve shown success in playoffs of the last few years so it’s exciting.