SANDY, Utah — So far this season, Real Salt Lake Coach Jeff Cassar has had to juggle his lineup because of injuries. And suspensions. And national team duty. And playing surfaces. And travel.
On Saturday, he might have to juggle the lineup once again because of pregnancy. Well, because of delivery. Late Tuesday night, veteran defender Nat Borchers' wife delivered the couple's first child, a baby boy they named Lincoln.
That doesn't mean you should necessarily count Borchers out of Saturday's game in Carson, Calif., when RSL take on Chivas USA. The club confirmed that he attended team training on Wednesday although a decision has yet to be made on whether he'll leave his family to join the team on the trip to LA.
Giving birth on Saturday is “going to actually make it better,” Cassar told reporters on Tuesday. “Which is just typical of Nat.
"That's just the person he is to do something like that to, hopefully, make himself available for this weekend,” Cassar said with a laugh.
RSL are still several men down heading into Saturday's game against Chivas. Captain Kyle Beckerman and goalkeeper Nick Rimando are still in Brazil with the USMNT. Forward Alvaro Saborio will be out at least another 2-3 months after breaking a bone in his foot training with the Costa Rican national team before the World Cup got under way.
Midfielder Ned Grabavoy — the father of 17-month-old twins — continues to work his way back after suffering a hip flexor in a loss to Portland on June 7.
Grabavoy is training with the team, and he's “doing really good in his rehab, but I think this weekend's not going to happen,” Cassar said. The coach is confident that Grabavoy — who started RSL's first 15 games this season — is “putting himself in the mix, possibly,” for the July 4 game against New England. “But we'll see.”
Defender Carlos Salcedo is training with the Mexican U-21 team and isn't expected to return to RSL until after the game on July 4. Forward Robbie Findley hasn't looked the same since he underwent knee surgery in December. And midfielder Luis Gil has been battling a groin injury for much of the season, which has clearly hampered his play on the field.
“I'm still in the process” of recovery, Gil told reporters. “I feel like I'm getting better as the season goes on. Obviously, it's not fun to have injuries but you've got to take care of it. It just lingers. These injuries do hold me back a little bit.”
Clearly, Cassar is hoping Borchers can make it to California for Saturday's game.
“I'm going to put it out there,” the coach said Tuesday. “If he wants to be with his family, that's the most important thing. But if you can join us and make us better, that'd be great.”
Scott Pierce covers Real Salt Lake for MLSsoccer.com.