RSL host Union without key defender
Sandy, UT – Real Salt Lake and the Philadelphia Union will meet at Rio Tinto Stadium Saturday in a match that was rescheduled from April due to Real Salt Lake's participation in the CONCACAF Champions League.
It could prove to be an unfortunate break for Real Salt Lake, as the team will now be without one of their defensive stalwarts.
Nat Borchers is unavailable to face the Union after picking up a straight red card in the club's last outing, a 1-0 win at Chivas USA. Borchers acknowledged that pulling down Chivas midfielder Nick LaBrocca in the middle of a breakaway was certainly enough to warrant a sending off.
"[It] was a good call," Borchers told MLSsoccer.com. "It was fair. I denied their attacker a goal-scoring opportunity, and that's in the rules of the game. I understand that. Moving forward, I just obviously need to be careful and not put myself in any difficult situations that get me sent off."
With Borchers absent from the lineup, Real Salt Lake will rely on reigning Major League Soccer Defender of the Year Jamison Olave in the back. Olave returned to the team on Saturday for the first time since sustaining an injury in the MLS All-Star Game.
Philadelphia returns to action after Hurricane Irene forced Sunday's match against the New England Revolution to be postponed. In its last outing, it lost a crucial Eastern Conference battle with the Columbus Crew 2-1.
The short hiatus could possibly be beneficial for the Union, who will get to regroup and develop a strong game plan to combat a tough Western Conference opponent.
"I think the break was good for us mentally and physically," said Union striker Danny Mwanga. "Now we're excited to play. We have to go out there and execute our plan, which is always to come away with three points."
Three points at this stage in the season would be very welcomed by the Union, who are winless in their last five games.
Philadelphia has fallen to fourth place in the Eastern Conference standings with 34 points on the season. It marks the first time in 2011 that the Union find themselves out of the top two spots in the East.
Real Salt Lake, despite posting a 2-4 record since the All-Star Game, still occupies fifth place in the Western Conference with 39 points on the season. A win would see Salt Lake move ahead of the Colorado Rapids, 41 points, into fourth place.
Philadelphia and Salt Lake played to a 1-1 draw when they met on June 11 at PPL Park. A Keon Daniel header in the 24th minute put the Union in front, but Fabian Espindola equalized in the 53rd to earn a point for the visitors.