Real Salt Lake hosts the New England Revolution in a Fourth of July match that promises to be huge for the Utah side.
RSL must find a way to turn things around after a poor run of form that has left the team winless in its last five matches. Even with the extended World Cup break, the difficulties continued last week on the road at Chivas USA, with Real losing 1-0 after playing with 10 men for nearly the entire match.
Fortunately for Jeff Cassar's side, Nick Rimando and Kyle Beckerman have returned to Salt Lake City after their World Cup stint with the USMNT. However, while the club has officially said that their status for Friday night is yet to be determined, neither is likely to play a part against the Revs because of the quick turnaround after Tuesday's US loss.
Beckerman's absence in the midfield has been keenly felt, as Cassar has experimented with several different lineups and formations. In addition, Ned Grabavoy has been out through injury, making that task more difficult. With Luke Mulholland suspended for his red card offense last week at Chivas, John Stertzer is expected to play alongside Cole Grossman, Javier Morales, and Luis Gil in the midfield.
Tony Beltran will be back after serving as a suspension of his own last week, meaning that RSL's usual starting back four should be intact once again. Robbie Findley and Joao Plata are the likely starting duo up front, which will give Real plenty of speed on the attack.
While the Revs surprised many around the league with their performances earlier this spring, Jay Heaps' side has struggled as of late as well. New England has lost its last three matches and is coming off a 3-1 defeat to the Philadelphia Union at home last weekend.
With each team looking to right its respective ship this weekend, the match should be well-contested. A heated match could prove difficult for RSL, as the team has had to play down a man in each of its last league matches due to disciplinary issues.