SANDY, Utah – Real Salt Lake’s deflating 3-2 loss to the LA Galaxy on Wednesday night was tough to swallow. After all, giving up a two-goal lead at home doesn’t leave a particularly nice taste in the mouth. But RSL and their fans can take solace in two things: the returns of Javier Morales and Luis Gil.
The two attacking midfielders have spent many recent training sessions in “the tank” – the team's name for the area set up for injury rehab. Morales was in with a strained quadriceps and Gil with a sprained MCL. And while neither was ready to play a full 90 minutes, both made second-half appearances as they continue to build towards full fitness.
“He’s getting there,” said RSL coach Jason Kreis of Morales to reporters after the Argentine played 30 minutes against the Galaxy. “You know I think that come Saturday we take a real strong look on whether or not he can start and at least give us 45 to 60 [minutes] and build him towards 90.”
Gil went to the US Under-20 national team camp, but after only one training session, returned home with the injury. He played 26 minutes against LA, and feels ready to put the injury behind him.
“It felt good, especially getting back on the field so quickly,” said Gil. “I feel like I’ve got to get back into that rhythm, though. Obvioulsy, time off takes that away and you feel a little slow; just getting back into the soccer rhythm, getting back on the ball, more confidence.
“It’s feeling better, much better, but definitely not all the way there,” said Gil of his knee and approaching full fitness. “That is something [I've] got to work on and getting back on the ball. My touch isn’t all there yet, but it will get there.”
The two will be available for Saturday night’s clash for Western Conference supremacy as RSL, who lead the West with 32 points, host the San Jose Earthquakes, who trail by only two points (9 pm ET, watch LIVE online).
“We just have to put this loss behind us and get ready for Saturday,” said Gil. “I know that we all will have a little bit of extra motivation after what happened [Wednesday], and I will be ready to contribute if called upon."