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Storylines to Watch: RSL at San Jose Earthquakes

29 August 1:36 pm

Storylines to Watch: RSL at San Jose Earthquakes

By Jane Sexton

With nine games left, RSL in search of points in airtight west

 
With just nine games remaining in the 2014 MLS regular season, Real Salt Lake will be in need of points this weekend as the Western Conference and Supporters’ Shield standings remain airtight. After last weekend’s 2-1 loss at FC Dallas and LA Galaxy’s midweek win over D.C. United, the Claret-and-Cobalt slipped into fourth-place in the Western Conference. RSL currently posts an 11-5-9 record for a total of 42 points which ties the club on points with FC Dallas, but the Texas side records one more win than the Utah club to situate itself above RSL. LA (43 points) is parked above FC Dallas while Seattle Sounders FC (45 points) claim first-place in the west and league with a game in hand on RSL. Vancouver Whitecaps FC currently occupy the fifth and final playoff spot with 33 points. But the clubs underneath the red line can’t be discounted either – just three points separate the ‘Caps and Portland Timbers (31 points) and Colorado Rapids (30 points).  
 
If RSL wants to remain in the race for Supporters’ Shield and at least secure a top-three finish in the west, the Claret-and-Cobalt will have to produce on Saturday at Buck Shaw Stadium.
 
Western Conference
#
Club
PTS
GP
PPG
W
L
T
GF
GA
GD
HG
HGD
RG
RGD
1
45
24
1.88
14
7
3
43
33
10
21
10
22
0
2
43
24
1.79
12
5
7
45
27
18
27
16
18
2
3
42
25
1.68
12
7
6
45
33
12
26
9
19
3
4
42
25
1.68
11
5
9
39
30
9
22
10
17
-1
5
33
24
1.38
7
5
12
33
31
2
20
5
13
-3
6
31
25
1.24
7
8
10
41
43
-2
25
0
16
-2
7
30
25
1.2
8
11
6
37
39
-2
22
9
15
-11
8
25
23
1.09
6
10
7
28
32
-4
18
1
10
-5
9
24
24
1
6
12
6
21
37
-16
8
-10
13
-6
 
Will Saturday see the debut of new RSL signing Sebastian Jaime?
 
Saturday’s contest at Buck Shaw Stadium could see the debut of newly signed Real Salt Lake forward Sebastian Jaime. The Argentine striker joined the club earlier this week and will travel with RSL to San Jose, but the newcomer will likely only serve as an option off the bench. Jaime was acquired from Chilean Primera División club Unión Española earlier this month and will hopefully provide another dangerous attacking option with RSL in need of positive results in the final stretch of the season.
 
Can RSL take advantage of an injury-riddled San Jose?
 
Real Salt Lake will not be facing a full-strength San Jose Earthquakes squad on Saturday night. The Bay Area club has been injury-riddled, suffering multiple blows to some of its most critical players. Newly signed Designated Player Matias Perez Garcia picked up a serious knee injury against FC Dallas on Aug. 16 that will see him miss Saturday’s match and up to four more weeks. San Jose will also be without forward Steven Lenhart who also suffered a knee injury and defender Clarence Goodson who is recovering from a toe injury. Perhaps most disheartening for the Quakes, in-form midfielder Yannick Djalo picked up a quad strain on Aug. 2 against Seattle and has not returned to the starting lineup since.  Despite the rash of injuries, RSL will still need to be wary of the California side as forward Chris Wondolowski continues to be a force to be reckoned with, recording his fifth-straight season with 10 or more goals.