Scouting report: Breakdown of Real Salt Lake before Saturday's battle at PPL Park (4 p.m.)
Similar to last year, Real Salt Lake will be short-handed for its one and only matchup against Philadelphia.
The club's injury list is extensive, with first-year manager Jeff Cassar already ruling out Nick Rimando, Robbie Findley, and Joao Plata.
Jeff Cassar has ruled Rimando, Findley and Plata out for Philadelphia this weekend. "Everyone else is kind of on the fence." #RSL
— Chris Kamrani (@chriskamrani) April 10, 2014
Cassar's team is coming off back-to-back shutouts against Toronto and Sporting Kansas City, the latter acccomplished on the road and without a number of starters. It looks like RSL, as always, has exceptional depth in many different positions.
They are 2-0-3, four points back from FC Dallas and still unbeaten on the year. The early season schedule included two games against Los Angeles, a road trip to San Jose, and last week's trip to Sporting Park.
Graphic: A look at Real Salt Lake's projected starting lineup and formation Saturday.
All-time, this will be the seventh meeting between Philadelphia and Real Salt Lake. The Union is 0-2-4 against RSL and is still looking for its first win in the series. Three previous games at PPL Park have each ended in a draw, with 1-1 results in 2010 and 2011, and a 0-0 draw in 2012.
Real Salt Lake Attack
No Findley, no Plata, and no problem.
RSL will likely pair veteran Alvaro Saborio with Olmes Garcia on Saturday. You're familiar with the Costa Rica international Saborio, who is now in his fifth year with the team. Garcia is just 21 years old, a Colombia native who already looks like a promising MLS player.
In the midfield, you'll see the hallmark four man "diamond" shape, with U.S. international Kyle Beckerman at holding mid and Javier Morales in the playmaker role. A third veteran, Ned Grabavoy, will lineup on the left, but the status of Luis Gil is a bit muddy at this point. The young American is listed as doubtful this week with a hamstring strain.
One perk for RSL is the health of midfielder Sebastien Velasquez, who will be available for the first time this season on Saturday. Forward Devon Sandoval is probable with a foot injury, and you'll likely see former Reading United product Luke Mulholland get some minutes as well.
Real Salt Lake Defense
In the absence of Rimando, backup goalkeeper Jeff Attinella played a phenomenal game against Kansas City, recording eight saves and earning the clean sheet against the defending MLS Cup champions.
He was protected by a defense that did not have starting fullbacks Tony Beltran and Chris Wingert, both of whom are also listed at questionable this weekend with ankle and hamstring injuries, respectively.
Barring any other misfortunes, you'll probably see Kenny Mansally and Rich Balchan at left and right back for the second straight week.
And the center back pairing of Nat Borchers and Chris Schuler looks intact, with bench depth provided by Carlos Salcedo and Aaron Maund.
Possible Starting XI: Attinella (GK), Mansally, Schuler, Borchers, Balchan, Beckerman, Morales, Grabavoy, Gil, Saborio, Garcia
Contact Union writer Kevin Kinkead at firstname.lastname@example.org