SANDY — Will they or won't they?
That's the millionaire dollar question surrounding Real Salt Lake defenders Nat Borchers and Jamison Olave heading into Sunday's Western Conference final against the L.A. Galaxy.
The two traveled with the team to Southern California on Friday night, and between trainers and RSL's team doctor the center backs' respective quadriceps strains will get constant attention over the weekend in hopes they can suit up against the Galaxy.
"It will be a close decision on game day," said RSL general manager Garth Lagerwey.
Borchers worked out the with trainers at the Rio Tinto Stadium on Friday afternoon and said he felt good.
"It was very positive. I was surprised in fact, so really hopefully for Sunday," said Borchers.
As of Friday night though, his status was still up in the air.
"I always consider myself 50-50 with an injury like this cause you just don't know until the day of the game how you're going to feel. I just know if I can go out there and do my job well and help my teammates out, I'll be out there, and I know that if I can't, I know somebody else will step in and get the job done," said Borchers.
Neither Olave nor Borchers suited up for Wednesday's conference semifinal game at Seattle, with Chris Schuler and Chris Wingert starting in their place.
RSL struggled to maintain possession throughout the game, and the backline was under constant pressure. For the most part though, Lagerwey thought the duo held their own against the Sounders. He joked that if Schuler and Wingert start again, they should be fine.
"You're not going to come under any more pressure than you did against Seattle," said Lagerwey. "If you want to talk about a baptism by fire for a backline, it's just not going to get any harder for them."
As far as the Galaxy are concerned, they are preparing as if Borchers and Olave will both start.
"Anyway Salt Lake lines up in the back they have a good group. Obviously, Olave and Borchers are among the best center backs in the league, and I'll be honest, I expect them to play, and if they don't, I don't expect the level to drop off that much," said L.A. coach Bruce Arena.
Real Salt Lake's record when Borchers and Olave both start this year is 10-4-8. When only one of them or none of them starts, RSL's record is 6-8-0, including Wednesday's 2-0 loss at Seattle.
Ironically enough, one of those four losses when they did start was at Los Angels in early October. In that game, Borchers and Olave both had miscues that led to RSL's 2-1 loss.
Olave was beat in the 59th minute on a goal by Chad Barrett. Twelve minutes later, an unlucky own goal by Borchers led to another Galaxy goal.
EASTERN CONFERENCE FINAL
Sunday: Houston at Sporting Kansas City, 3:30 p.m.
WESTERN CONFERENCE FINAL
Sunday: Real Salt Lake at Los Angeles, 7 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 20: at Carson, Calif., 7 p.m.
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