“Our heart goes out to Chris, but I know he’s going to do everything to get back on the field as quickly as possible.”
That’s Real Salt Lake Head Coach Jeff Cassar talking about the injury that will sideline center back Chris Schuler for the next four-to-six weeks after surgery Monday to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee.
The 27-year-old defender had the most consistent season of his career in 2014, starting 25 matches and contributing three goals and an assist along the way. Now, after starting the first four matches, he will be left to watch from the sidelines.
“We just want him healthy. Like we all know, it’s a long season. We’re going to need Schuler this season and we’ll be happy to get him back,” midfielder Kyle Beckerman said. “Guys have got to step up and continue to do what they’re doing and continue to try and improve.”
This isn’t Schuler’s first injury that has held him out for an extended stretch and to Cassar that is a good thing in that he has experience coping with the physical and mental rigors that come with a month-long absence from the field.
“That definitely is going to be key because he does have experience coming back through injuries,” Cassar said. “It’s about having communication with the training staff and with the doctors and making sure that’s good.”
Goalkeeper Nick Rimando has watched Schuler develop since Schuler’s arrival as a third-round pick in the 2010 MLS SuperDraft. While his consistency will be missed on a defense that has allowed just one goal in three April matches, Rimando sees it as an opportunity for another player to step up and contribute.
“We’ve just got to keep going,” Rimando said. “It’s a long season and all these guys are on the team for a reason. We’ve got to put them in there and trust them and go with it.”