Real Salt Lake is entering the final three matches of the regular season, starting on Saturday against the San Jose Earthquakes. With so much on the line as RSL rallies to secure a spot in the MLS Cup Playoffs and jockeys for home-field advantage, Head Coach Jeff Cassar will lean on his veteran talent to help lead the charge.
“When it gets to this time of season, crunch time, you definitely need your leaders to step up to the plate,” Cassar said on ESPN 700s O’Connell and Swinney Show on Wednesday. “We have some amazing leadership on our team – experienced players on our team that recognize these situations. Now my job is to make sure that their bodies are fresh and that their minds are in the right spot to achieve that.”
RSL has seven players on the roster that were with the club to win the 2009 MLS Cup. Now aged veterans, those make up the core of players that Cassar references. Players like Kyle Beckerman, Nick Rimando and Javier Morales have long led the Claret-and-Cobalt. But with additional players like Jamison Olave, Yura Movsisyan, Tony Beltran and Chris Wingert sporting championship rings from ’09, there are plenty of players vying to repeat that feeling, knowing not only what is at stake, but how to reach those goals.
With additional veterans like Juan Manuel Martinez and Sunny in the fold, Cassar has plenty of players to rely on. While not all of those players are at 100%, there is little room for error and Cassar said Wednesday that he may push those players a bit more to build some momentum heading into the postseason.
“Everyone’s playing with injuries – but you have to keep pushing on and push for three points,” Cassar said. “I’d be lying if I said we were fresh. It’s a long, long year. This is the time of year when you’ve got to dig deep.”
Real Salt Lake will play the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday at Avaya Stadium.
To hear Cassar’s full interview, click here.