RSL Roundup: The missing piece

Espíndola could have made difference in New York; Saborío a DP?

Although Real Salt Lake’s trip to New York last Saturday featured few shots on goal and ended as a scoreless draw, it was a deceptively active game as the two juggernauts tried to find a way to break each other down.

WATCH: Full Match Highlights

The draw pushed RSL’s overall unbeaten streak to 12 as they return to Rio Tinto Stadium this week to defend their MLS-record home unbeaten mark, currently at 24, against FC Dallas.

New York rewind

Despite all the talent on the field in this matchup, perhaps two key missing elements were the reason that neither team could crack the opposing defense.

Fabian Espindola’s hamstring injury kept him out of this one. His continual pressure on the opposing back line could have caused the Red Bulls to make a gaffe that, in turn, would result in a goal. After all, he was the player that scored the only goal in the previous meeting between the two teams.

On the other side, New York were without Dane Richards, away on international duty with Jamaica. His pace, along with the rest of the attacking quality on this team, has generated a lot of success for his club in recent weeks. But without him, something appeared to be just slightly off.

Game of the Century?

[inline_node:320622]The match between Salt Lake and Dallas is already being billed by some “The Unstoppables vs. The Rock." Two teams riding record-setting unbeaten streaks – RSL haven’t tasted defeat in 24 matches at Rio Tinto, and Dallas put a 19-game overall unbeaten streak and a 12-game road unbeaten streak on the line – will collide in a highly anticipated match on Saturday.

If the New York Red Bulls-LA Galaxy matchup a few weeks ago was the Game of the Year, perhaps this is the Game of the Century?

Supporters’ Shield slipping away

Unfortunately, it appears that Los Angeles’ win against Philadelphia on Thursday, coupled with RSL’s draw at New York, slimmed the Cobalt-and-Claret’s remaining hopes of winning the Supporters’ Shield.

The Galaxy now have a four-point advantage on RSL with two games remaining for the top two squads in the league. Both squads will, in fact, trade opponents, with LA facing Colorado this week and Dallas next week, while RSL take on Dallas this week before closing out the season at Colorado.

Saborío a DP in the making?

[inline_node:319900]As reported on MLSsoccer.com, there is some optimism about Real Salt Lake being able to re-sign star striker Alvaro Saborio. However, the intriguing question in the negotiation process is whether or not Saborío will be a Designated Player at the end of the day.

READ: Saborío wants to stay at RSL

The Salt Lake Tribune reports that the loan buyout amount for the Costa Rican striker is $1 million, which would push him into DP status. But the team will be trying to negotiate off that amount and avoid the high-profile designation.

Homegrown products

The Washington Post's Steve Goff reported last week that Garth Lagerwey, among others in the biz, attended a UConn vs. Maryland match last week.

One of the players they watched was Tony Cascio, a junior midfielder for the Huskies who has been tagged as a homegrown player by RSL. Cascio was in RSL’s Arizona program in 2007 before heading off to Storrs, Ct.

“For Connecticut, he plays up top, sometimes he plays right mid, but generically speaking, he’s an attacking midfielder-type player,” said Lagerwey. “We would project him as likely a midfielder in our system.

“He’s tall and lanky; he’s got a good burst … not blazing fast; he’s got good feet [and] he shoots the ball well. He’s a kid with potential.”

Cascio was one of three players, along with James Rogers and Donny Toia, singled out by Lagerwey as potential players to be the first given a contract by the team.

With some changes afoot for rosters across the league next season, along with the advancement of each of the team’s development programs, it appears such signings could be much more likely in the near future.