Chris Seitz has been waiting a long time for the type of opportunity he's getting this week.
Real Salt Lake's first-choice keeper, Nick Rimando, will be sidelined two to three weeks because of the finger injury sustained in Colorado last Saturday, opening the door for the third-year Seitz to get invaluable playing time with the first team.
"To hear that he went down is never a good thing, but I have an opportunity in front of me, and hopefully I can make the most of it and go out there and show that I am capable," said Seitz.
The start this Wednesday against visiting Los Angeles will be Seitz's first regular season start since October of his rookie season in 2007. Rimando played every minute of all 30 regular season games last year, with Seitz gaining most of his experience in exhibition and reserve league games.
Despite lacking much of any MLS experience, Seitz is perhaps sharper than he's ever been with three 90-minute performances last week.
He got the starting nod for RSL in last Tuesday's U.S. Open Cup qualifying loss in Seattle, and then on a three-day loan over the weekend with USL club Portland Timbers he started two matches and earned a shutout on both Thursday and Saturday.
It was Seitz's second loan this year, having been loaned to Cleveland of the USL a few weeks ago as well.
"I think he looks probably to me the most ready than I've ever seen him, and a lot of that is we've been able to loan him out to some second division teams," said RSL coach Jason Kreis.
Depending on Rimando's recovery time, Seitz could be in the starting lineup as many as four or five times this month. RSL has a quick turnaround after Wednesday's game with a Saturday visit to league-leading Chivas USA, which is followed by three straight weekend games to close the month.
"I don't think of it as pressure, I think of it more as an opportunity to go out and prove I'm ready," said Seitz.
Knowing he'll definitely be in the starting 11 this Wednesday, Seitz insists it was business as usual during Monday's training session.
"I know everyone says it, you're supposed to train every week like you're starting that weekend, so I didn't look at any different. I went out there and did what I normally do, just try to stay sharp and be prepared and get ready for Wednesday," said Seitz.
MLS SUSPENDS MORALES: Real Salt Lake midfielder Javier Morales has suspended for one game and fined $250 by the MLS Disciplinary Committee for his elbow on Colorado midfielder Pablo Mastroeni. The incident occurred in the 80th minute of last Saturday's match with the Rapids already leading 2-0.
Morales will miss this Wednesday's home match against the Los Angeles Galaxy and joins defender Jamison Olave, who is also suspended because of a red card he picked up against Colorado.
The referee didn't call a foul on the play, but replays clearly showed Morales elbowing Mastroeni in the face.
Both Morales and Olave will be back for this Saturday's match at Chivas USA. Morales, however, is in danger of another one-game suspension because of yellow card accumulation. Players receive an automatic one-game suspension after five yellow cards and Morales already has four cards this season.
A FAMILIAR FACE: It isn't taking Fabian Espindola long to get re-acclimated with his former team.
Espindola arrived in Utah on Sunday, trained for the first time with RSL on Monday and was impressive enough that Kreis said he's in consideration for playing time on Wednesday.
"He looks bright, he looks happy. To me already he looks ready," said Kreis.
Espindola, however, hasn't played a competitive match in over a month. Espindola spent an injury-plagued season with RSL in 2008 scoring five goals in just 12 matches. After Real Salt Lake declined to pick up the expensive option on his contract at the end of the season, the Argentine native signed with Venezuelan club Deportivo Anzoategui in the offseason.
As promising as things appeared early on in South America, he hasn't received a paycheck from the club in three months — a big reason he said he's "very happy" to be back with Real Salt Lake.
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