SANDY, Utah — While much of the league rested during the Labor Day weekend, Real Salt Lake had an eventful — and bountiful — few days.
Though it was originally scheduled as a weekend off, RSL played a home game on Saturday against the Philadelphia Union — who had graciously moved the match back from earlier in the season to help ease RSL's fixture congestion during run up to the CONCACAF Champions League finals.
In the league's lone game on Saturday, RSL held on for a 2-1 win at Rio Tinto Stadium. The victory was huge in that it moved RSL into fourth place in the Western Conference.
“It was one of those games that we had in hand, and if we could win we jumped Colorado — so it had a lot of importance for us,” Kyle Beckerman said after the match.
Though Beckerman missed out on the US national team's 1-0 loss to Costa Rica on Friday, he made his availability with his club count by scoring a goal and adding an assist.
However, Beckerman — who did suit up for the US in their 1-0 defeat to Belgium in Brussels on Tuesday — wasn’t the only high-profile player showing his mettle for RSL. Striker Álvaro Saborío proved his desire to contribute by insisting on being available for selection despite playing the full 90-minutes for Costa Rica the day prior.
“He came to me actually after the last game last weekend and said, 'Coach, I want to be in the 18 next weekend,'" Jason Kreis said. “He wanted to get back here, he wanted to be with the guys and he wanted to contribute.”
Saborío got his wish. He made the gameday squad, though he didn't see the field for RSL.
Young center back Chris Schuler had another good match, this time filling in for the suspended Nat Borchers. The 6-foot-4 defender scored a header off of a corner kick, looking a foot taller than his 5-foot-11 marker Sheanon Williams.
“Yeah, he was kind of little," Schuler said. "I got lucky with the matchup.”
Meanwhile, three RSL players participated in World Cup qualifying this past weekend: Arturo Alvarez (El Salvador), Will Johnson (Canada) and Jean Alexandre (Haiti). Alexandre scored a brace against the US Virgin Islands after coming on at halftime in a 6-0 rout. Johnson knocked home a late goal against St. Lucia in a 4-1 win, and Alvarez played 35 minutes against the Dominican Republic in a 3-2 victory.