SANDY — After Real Salt Lake training on Tuesday, coach Jeff Cassar addressed the media to discuss the club’s mounting injury situation.
He started by saying, “we’re getting healthy,” but then immediately ran down the list of RSL’s walking wounded, which included a new name this week.
Luis Gil is dealing with a groin, hamstring-type injury and didn’t train on Tuesday. Cassar didn’t know the exact nature of the injury, and didn’t offer a time frame on his return, but it seems clear the young midfielder is doubtful for this Saturday's match at Philadelphia.
“It’s kind of in an area where the ligaments and joints and muscles all come together, maybe groin, maybe hamstring,” said Cassar.
An ineffective Gil was replaced in the 55th minute of last Saturday’s match at Kansas City, and it might’ve had something to do with the injury.
“He kind of looked like he was interested in the game, but maybe wasn’t quite able to do what he needed to do. Something was up,” said Cassar.
Nick Rimando’s availability is also in doubt this weekend after he missed last week’s match because of a knee injury picked up with the U.S. National Team.
After the performance turned in by backup keeper Jeff Attinella at Kansas City, nobody’s nervous about the prospect of Attinella getting another start.
While Rimando and Gil are doubtful, a trio of other RSL players who missed last week’s game are all on the mend and potentially available.
Chris Wingert and Sebastian Velasquez both trained without restrictions on Tuesday, with Tony Beltran expected to join them on Wednesday.
“I feel good, definitely better. We’ll see how it goes this week, hopefully it stays strong throughout the week,” said Wingert, who injured his groin two weeks ago against visiting Toronto FC.
Velasquez has yet to play a match this year, but with Gil likely out after starting the first five games, that could change this weekend.
As for Joao Plata, who was superb the first two games of the season, he’s still recovering slowly from the hamstring injury that popped up in Week 3. Cassar said the club “wants to be smart with him” and isn’t going to rush him back early.
ENCOURAGING NEWS FOR FINDLEY: Robbie Findley, RSL’s third-leading scorer last year, hasn't practiced since December as he continues to recover from offseason knee surgery.
That could all change next week.
“Robbie Findley is getting closer, I think he’ll start joining us in practice early next week,” said Cassar.
For a team that ranks 13th in MLS in shots, the speedy striker’s return can’t get here soon enough for RSL.
RSL SIGNS TEENAGER: Real Salt Lake announced the signing of 17-year-old defender Justen Glad on Monday to a Homegrown Player contract.
Glad spent the past two years with the RSL-Arizona Academy in Casa Grande, Ariz., and he’s regarded as one of the best young defenders in the United States. Glad is currently training with the U.S. Under-18 team in Carson, Calif., and likely won’t join RSL until June after he finishes the academy soccer season.
“He’s somebody that’s really respected with the guys on the team at such a young age. Every time we had him in preseason or reserve team games, he did a fantastic job, and I just expect him to grow and flourish in our environment,” said Cassar.
RSL released Joey Dillon to make room for Glad.
“I’m really looking forward to being able to join the RSL first team,” Glad said in a press release. “Ever since I can remember I’ve dreamed of being a professional, and RSL and the RSL-Arizona Academy have made that possible. It’s going to be an amazing experience learning from a great coaching staff and an experienced group of players, and I’m incredibly thankful for everyone that helped make this dream a reality.”
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