LEHI — There was a Paulo Jr. sighting in Texas on Tuesday.
The Real Salt Lake forward started and played 33 minutes in the club's Reserve League match at FC Dallas before being replaced by Cody Arnoux. It was the Brazilian forward's first contributions to the team in three and a half months as he's dealt with nagging hamstring injuries.
RSL coach Jason Kreis, who wasn't in Dallas but rather in Utah training with the first team players, was encouraged by the news that Paulo Jr.'s hamstring withstood the pre-determined 30 minutes in the Texas heat. Kreis said if Paulo Jr. feels good on Wednesday, he might travel with the team to Toronto for this Saturday's match.
Paulo Jr.'s last contributions came as a substitute in the final five minutes of RSL's Champions League loss to Monterrey on April 27.
Kreis believes Paulo Jr.'s injury-prone nature isn't a coincidence.
"My personal feeling is Paulo has never been in a first-class, top-division professional program like Real Salt Lake, and has never been asked to task his body the way that we task it," said Kreis. "I still think he's learning how to be a complete professional, and part of that is to have an extremely strong body to withstand small muscle pulls and injuries."
If Paulo Jr. can stay healthy, it would be a big boost to Real Salt Lake as it enters the home stretch of the regular season with 13 games remaining.
A RARITY: Real Salt Lake has never won in Dallas, but on Tuesday its reserves prevailed 2-0 in a Reserve League victory over FC Dallas. RSL's first team has never won in Dallas in 11 competitive matches, with a 0-10-1 record.
Recent signing Chris Agorsor scored in the 10th minute and Arturo Alvarez tacked on an insurance goal in the 75th minute. Defender Tony Beltran was the only regular to play in the match.
"I think it's certainly a good thing. Winning breeds winning and confidence breeds confidence. With a positive result last weekend and then a positive result on Tuesday for the rest of the guys, everybody should feel good about what they're contributing to this program right now," said Kreis.
GETTING HIS CHANCE: Selfishly, Kreis jokes that he hopes Kyle Beckerman doesn't play tonight for the U.S. National Team when it faces Mexico in a friendly in Philadelphia (ESPN2, 7 p.m.). That would ensure that Beckerman is completely available for RSL's match this weekend match at Toronto FC.
That doesn't mean he's hoping for Beckerman to disappoint new U.S. boss Jurgen Klinsmann. In fact, quite the opposite.
"I hope he's in there doing a fantastic job in camp and impressing Jurgen Klinsmann and Jurgen says OK we'll wait for the next trip (to play him)," said Kreis.
Beckerman is one of 20 players called into Klinsmann's first camp with the United States.
STILL QUESTIONABLE: Defender Jamison Olave, who sprained his knee in the MLS All-Star Game on July 27, did some functional testing at practice on Tuesday and could be back on the training field today.
Kreis listed him as questionable for this Saturday's match at Toronto FC.
Copyright 2015, Deseret News Publishing Company