SANDY, Utah – Slowly but surely, Real Salt Lake is returning to full health.
Several banged-up RSL players made partial returns to training on Tuesday, with midfielder Luis Gil participating fully, forward Joao Plata participating as a neutral throughout the session and forward Robbie Findley and goalkeeper Nick Rimando going through individual workouts on the sideline.
RSL Head Coach Jeff Cassar – who has already seen 14 of his 28 players miss at least one game to injury this year – gave an update on his injured charges status after Tuesday’s session, telling reporters that the prognosis doesn’t look great for either Rimando or Plata to play this Saturday against Portland. Findley – who was participating in his first session of the season on Tuesday after offseason knee surgery – won’t be available for this weekend’s home match against the Timbers.
“It was great to see Joao out there as a neutral, he looked really sharp” Cassar said of Plata, who has missed RSL’s last three games due to a hamstring strain. “I’m not sure if he’s going to be available for this weekend, but having him out there is a real positive anyway.”
“Robbie Findley is coming along. We’re being smart about that.”
Saturday’s game looks like even more of a long shot for Rimando, who has missed RSL’s last two matches after suffering an MCL injury on April 2 while playing in the U.S.’s international friendly against Mexico.
“I’d be really surprised if he’s available for this weekend,” Cassar said. “I haven’t been able to find out yet exactly what he was doing at practice, but I know he was doing some good lateral movements which is positive.”
“It’s one of those where certain things are painful. He’s able to do a lot of things, but opening up that leg and really stressing the MCL can be painful.”
Rich Balchan is another player who could be on the shelf this weekend due to injury. The fourth-year defender – who was strong in a starting role in RSL’s 0-0 draw at Sporting Kansas City – missed last week’s game at Philadelphia due to a groin injury and did not train on Tuesday with the same issue.
Things look better for Gil, Sebastian Velasquez and Aaron Maund, all of whom participated fully in training on Tuesday.
“Sebastian’s looking better and better all the time, Aaron is looking better and better all the time, and Luis Gil is coming along,” said Cassar.