Real Salt Lake battling the elements at home and in Kansas City
RIVERTON, Utah — On Wednesday, Real Salt Lake did a couple of things it hasn't done in quite some time.
First, it trained with a full complement of players, including those who have missed games or training in recent weeks — forwards Alvaro Saborio and Devon Sandoval and defender Chris Wingert. And all three looked fit and sharp.
And, second, for the first time in 9½ months, the team practiced indoors.
What with the major snowstorm that hit northern Utah on Tuesday and Wednesday temperatures in the teens, the Western Conference champions were forced to look for somewhere to train just three days before they face Sporting Kansas City for the MLS Cup.
“Logistical problems at this time of year are a good thing to have,” RSL Coach Jason Kreis told reporters.
The team ended up at an indoor field in an inflatable bubble about 10 miles from Rio Tinto Stadium. And the entire team looked focused and loose.
“We're having fun,” RSL midfielder Javier Morales told MLSsoccer.com. “Attitude is good. We're just getting ready for Saturday's game.”
And, in a way, training inside that bubble may have contributed to preparing RSL for the showdown against Sporting Kansas City.
“It might help because of the way they pressure and stuff like that,” RSL captain Kyle Beckerman told MLSsoccer.com. “And it's a tight field in here. But anything we would do — indoor or outdoor — we're just trying to be sharp for the game.”
Real Salt Lake faces Sporting Kansas City in Kansas City on Saturday afternoon, and the one certainty is that it will be cold. The forecast is for temperatures in the mid-20s, and there's no bubble over Sporting Park.
“It's going to be cold,” Kreis said. “But I don't think it's going to be anything out of the ordinary for us.”
Even if the temperature is the 26 degrees the National Weather Service is forecasting for Saturday in Kansas City, that will be several degrees warmer than it was in Salt Lake City on Wednesday.
And the weather is not a major concern for RSL, according to Kreis. “I do think it has some affect, but both teams are on the same field,” he said.
Beckerman echoed that thought.
“Both teams are used to this cold weather,” he said. “I think it will be fine.
“The people it's going to affect more are the people sitting in the stands, not us running around. We'll be nice and warm and they're going to have to find ways to keep warm.”