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International

25 March 11:22 am

U.S. national team midfielder Jermaine Jones has been ruled out of Tuesday’s World Cup qualifier at Mexico due to an ankle injury, possibly opening the door for RSL captain Kyle Beckerman to start for the Stars-and-Stripes at Estadio Azteca.

Beckerman came on as a late game defensive substitute in the U.S.’s 1-0 win over Costa Rica on Friday, entering the match in the 89th minute for forward Herculez Gomez.

The Claret-and-Cobalt captain has experience at Estadio Azteca, playing a very solid 90 minutes and starting the play that led to the goal in the U.S.’s historic 1-0 friendly win over El Tri in Mexico City on Aug. 15, 2012.

At least one prominent media member thinks Beckerman will get the start on Tuesday, with Sports Illustrated's Grant Wahl tweeting Sunday that he sees Beckerman coming into the midfield and Maurice Edu slotting in at center back. 

Beckerman, RSL defender Tony Beltran and RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando will suit up for the U.S. at Mexico on Tuesday night. The match will kickoff at 8:30 p.m. MT and will be broadcast live on ESPN and Univision. 

21 March 12:02 pm

With the proliferation of soccer-specific stadiums around the country, U.S. Soccer has more options than ever when it comes to hosting important matches on American soil. Today's announcement from U.S. Soccer that Rio Tinto Stadium will host the USA vs. Honduras in a CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying match - on top of another U.S. Men's National Team appearance during the Gold Cup - solidifies the notion that Sandy is one of the most coveted destinations for our national team.

So why does U.S. Soccer smile so brightly upon Utah, which is the country's smallest soccer market? Quite simply, it's about one thing: Home field advantage.

Historically, the Salt Lake area has shown some of the most pro-U.S. crowds anywhere - this is key when it comes to putting opponents at a disadvantage. We all hear the stories of the kinds of partisan crowds the U.S. faces when they go on the road in CONCACAF, and the crowd at Rio Tinto is the closest we in the U.S. come to paying back the favor. "When we ask the question 'where is the biggest support for us throughout the country?,' Salt Lake always comes up in that discussion," said U.S. men's head coach Jurgen Klinsmann. "It has been proven in the past that this is another venue where we can rock the boat."

The results bear out Klinsmann's sentiments. The U.S. National Teams - all ages and genders - are a combined 4-0-0 in Salt Lake City, including two victories for the men in two previous World Cup Qualifiers. They beat Costa Rica 3-0 in 2005 at Rice-Eccles Stadium and El Salvador 2-1 at Rio Tinto in 2009.

On top of the crowd support, the 4400-foot altitude tends to work in the U.S.'s favor, and it should again in June when they face a Honduras team that plays its home games at 250 feet above sea level. If the U.S. can get an early lead and force Honduras to chase the ball, the visitors will be at the mercy of Sandy's thin air.

Of the World Cup Qualifiers we've hosted here in Utah, this one is shaping up to be the most crucial to the U.S. Honduras currently sits at the top of the table in the hexagonal, having just beaten the U.S. in Honduras, and they are one of the favorites to qualify for next year's World Cup. Depending on what happens between now and then, the match at Rio Tinto could be a make-or-break game for the U.S. if they want to qualify for Brazil 2014.

If the past is any indication, if you're the U.S. and you're facing a must-win game, then this really is the place.

A former RSL beat reporter for multiple outlets, Jeremy Horton is a regular contributor to RealSaltLake.com and helps cover the team for ESPN 700 AM.

21 March 8:28 am

Real Salt Lake has learned that star forward Alvaro Saborio's injury is not serious and that it shouldn't keep him out of Friday's U.S.-Costa Rica World Cup qualifier. 

Saborio, who has all three of RSL's goals this year, bruised his knee while training with the Costa Rican national team ahead of Friday's game. Costa Rican media outlet Deportes Repretel reported on Wednesday that Saborio was doubtful to start on Friday's match due to the injury. 

Friday's qualifier will kickoff at 8 p.m. MT from Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo. and will be broadcast live on ESPN. RSL players Tony Beltran, Kyle Beckerman and Nick  Rimando are in the U.S. squad for the match. 

Beltran, Beckerman, Rimando, Saborio and Abdoulie Mansally (Gambia) will all miss Saturday's RSL at FC Dallas match while on international duty. Both the U.S. and Costa Rica will play a second Hexagonal match on March 26, with the Stars-and-Stripes taking on Mexico at Estadio Azteca and Costa Rica hosting Jamaica. 

20 March 1:24 pm

Real Salt Lake forward Alvaro Saborio suffered a slight knee injury while training with Costa Rica and is doubtful to start Friday's World Cup qualifier at the U.S., according to a report from Costa Rican outlet Deportes Repretel

RSL has been in touch with the Costa Rican federation regarding Saborio's injury and is monitoring the situation closely. 

Costa Rica will take on the U.S. in a Hexagonal match at Dick's Sporting Goods Park outside Denver on Friday night (8 p.m. MT; ESPN). The Costa Rican captain, Saborio has one goal and one assist in four appearances - all starts - against the Stars-and-Stripes. Costa Rica has a 3-0-1 record in those games. 

Saborio's RSL teammates Tony Beltran, Kyle Beckerman and Nick Rimando are all in the U.S. squad for Friday's game. 

Los Ticos will host Jamaica in another Hex match on March 26. 

18 March 3:18 pm

It was interesting to watch RSL wheel and deal this offseason – GM Garth Lagerwey and Head Coach Jason Kreis jettisoned a few high-priced players and in return tried to create competition at every position.

By all indications they did a very good job at building that depth, to the point that RSL color commentator Brian Dunseth called the Claret-and-Cobalt the deepest team in MLS. Thanks to injuries and family matters, RSL’s bench has been tested plenty already this season, and while the results haven't been perfect, they haven't been bad either. The depth will get its biggest test of the young  season on Saturday at Dallas, thanks to national team call-ups hitting RSL hard as World Cup qualifying hits full stride this weekend.

Tony Beltran, Nick Rimando, and Kyle Beckerman have been called on by Jurgen Klinsmann to represent the Stars-and-Stripes. They'll be facing off on Friday against their RSL teammate and Costa Rican international Alvaro Saborio. Finally, Abdoulie Mansally is making the long trip back to Africa to join his native Gambia.

No other MLS team was hit as hard as RSL, and when combined with the current spate of injuries, RSL could be down as many as 11 players going to Dallas. So while national team call-ups are a great reward and a source of pride to players, the timing is going to leave their club in a bit of a lurch.

These call-ups are peppered around the field and cause concern in almost every positional group, but RSL's depth should help mitigate some of the risks. RSL probably has the best backup goalkeeper in the league with Josh Saunders; Nat Borchers played in the last reserve match - and looked good, I might add - and if he can start it will help Claret-and-Cobalt cover for Tony Beltran; Lovel Palmer has done well at outside back; and Yordany Alvarez is a more than capable replacement for Beckerman.

The biggest question is who is going to fill in for Saborio. Rookie forward Devon Sandoval is physically able to stand in for him, and the pairing of Findley and Plata is a possibility, but so far nobody has been able to step up and take the scoring load from Sabo. Someone is going to have to do it if RSL hopes to get its first win in Texas.

Here's my guess at RSL's starting lineup for Saturday based on the assumptions I've made above (L to R):

Saunders; Palmer, Borchers, Watson-Siriboe, Schuler; Alvarez; Gil, Grabavoy; Velasquez; Findley, Plata

Bench: Attinella, Maund, Martinez, Grossman, Stertzer, Sandoval, Garcia

The injuries and call-ups haven't created an ideal situation for RSL by any means, but considering the circumstances, that's not a bad lineup. And that's exactly what Kreis and Lagerwey were after during those long winter months.

A former RSL beat reporter for multiple outlets, Jeremy Horton is a regular contributor to RealSaltLake.com and helps cover the team for ESPN 700 AM.

13 March 12:30 pm

According to a tweet from MLSsoccer.com Chicago reporter Anthony Zilis, U.S. Men's National Team manager Jurgen Klinsmann indicated on Wednesday at a Gold Cup press conference in Chicago that Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando will back-up Aston Villa's Brad Guzan for the U.S. while first-choice 'keeper Tim Howard is out injured. 

Howard will miss the U.S.'s World Cup Qualifiers on March 22 against Costa Rica and on March 26 at Mexico due to a back injury. 

According to a second tweet from Zilis, Chicago Fire goalie Sean Johnson and D.C. United 'keeper Bill Hamid are fighting for the third spot behind Guzan and Rimando.
While this could obviously change, it seems that - for now - Rimando has a lock on the third goalkeeper spot behind Howard and Guzan. Should he retain that spot, he'll likely get called up for the U.S.'s remaining Hexagonal matches as well as for this summer's CONCACAF Gold Cup.  
 
Rimando will be honored before Saturday's 4:00 p.m. home opener against Colorado for becoming the second player in MLS history to register 100 career regular season shutouts. The 33-year-old 'keeper earned his 100th clean sheet in RSL's season opening 2-0 win at San Jose on March 3. He is also up for two Governor's State of Sport Awards - Click here to vote for Nick for the honors

 

23 February 9:17 am

Real Salt Lake midfielder Luis Gil notched an assist in the U.S. Under-20 national team's 1-0 win over Costa Rica in the Group Stage of the CONCACAF U-20 Championship on Friday night. 

Gil delivered the corner kick that L.A. Galaxy attacker Jose Villarreal nodded home in the 63rd minute. Friday night's win moved the U.S. to 2-0-0 in the Group Stage, giving the Stars-and-Stripes the Group A title. 

The U.S. will now face Group B runners-up Canada in the CONCACAF U-20 Championship Quarterfinals on Feb. 26. The winner of that match will advance to this summer's 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Turkey. 

21 February 2:52 pm

Luis Gil and the U.S. Under-20 national team got some good news on Wednesday night, when Costa Rica beat Haiti in Group A action at the CONCACAF U-20 Championship to book the U.S.’s passage into the Quarterfinals.

The U.S. now sits in first-place in Group A, ahead of second-place Costa Rica by virtue of the goals scored tiebreaker. The U.S. and Costa Rica will both advance out of Group A, as Haiti concluded its Group Stage schedule with zero points and cannot finish as one of the top two teams in the group.

Gil and the U.S. beat Haiti 2-1 on Monday night, with Gil scoring the opener on a penalty kick and starting the play that led to the U.S.'s second goal

The U.S. will play Costa Rica on Friday with the Group A title on the line. The Stars-and-Stripes need just a tie against Los Ticos to win the group. The Group A winner will play either Canada or Nicaragua in the Quarterfinals, while the Group A runner-up will take on Cuba in the Quarters.

The four teams that advance out of the CONCACAF U-20 Championship Quarterfinals and into the tournament Semifinals will qualify for this summer’s FIFA U-20 World Cup in Turkey. 

18 February 9:37 am

Real Salt Lake midfielder Luis Gil and the U.S. Under-20 national team will kick off the CONCACAF U-20 Championship with a Group A match against Haiti on Monday. U.S. Soccer produced a solid video preview of the tournament featuring Gil and U-20 Head Coach Tab Ramos. 

Check out the video above and make sure to tune in to Fox Soccer Channel at 4:30 p.m. MT to see Gil and the U-20's take on Haiti. 

06 February 9:54 pm

Real Salt Lake forward Alvaro Saborio had a big night for Costa Rica on Wednesday, scoring a goal and adding an assist in Los Ticos' 2-2 draw at Panama. 

Sabo scored in the 38th minute of the match, cutting Costa Rica's deficit to 2-1 with a powerful header from 12 yards out. Saborio is expected to join to the Claret-and-Cobalt for the first time this preseason on Monday in Tucson ahead of the FC Tucson Desert Diamond Cup.