Ned Grabavoy in action against Vancouver
Getty Images

RSL returnees raring to go against 'Caps, get playoff prep

SANDY, Utah – All of Real Salt Lake’s players and coaches are anxious to get back on the field Saturday against Vancouver (9 pm ET, watch LIVE online) and wipe away the bitter taste following Tuesday's elimination from the CONCACAF Champions League at the hands of Herediano. But a couple of players may just be raring to go a little more than the others.

Ned Grabavoy has been out of action since straining his right quadriceps muscle training Sept. 26 and had been eyeing a comeback against Herediano, but came up just short.

“I think it was a decision Tuesday to hold me back because it wasn’t really a normal game to come back into, being a do-or-die situation,” said Grabavoy. “It feels a lot better, and being able to train in full the last week is good as well. We’ll see going into tomorrow night. I’m ready to go, but I need to get some of that fitness back – however many minutes that is.”

With the Whitecaps in town to close out the regular season, the veteran midfielder knows just how big the need is to see game action prior to beginning the playoffs.

“It is extremely important,” Grabavoy added. “I’m sure if it were set up a little differently, then I probably wouldn’t be able to just step out there. To be fair, it is the guys that are sharp, guys that are fit are the guys that are going to play. Getting some time in a real game against a real opponent is important.”

READ: Latest MLS injury report

Outside of regular Nat Borchers, RSL’s three other center backs all have some type of ailment. Kwame Watson-Siriboe is close to ready after spending the last month nursing a groin strain, while Chris Schuler has been ruled out with a quad strain, and Jámison Olave missed Tuesday’s game with a hamstring issue.

“I think the decision comes down to between Kwame and Olave,” said coach Jason Kreis. “Schuler has been ruled out for sure, so we will check with Jamison to see exactly where he’s at, as far as what he could offer us tomorrow night and decide whether or not if we need to take a more cautious approach.”

Watson-Siriboe saw plenty of action this summer where he started nine games and appeared in 11 after being acquired from the Chicago Fire on June 27. He hopes he is called on again.

“It is coach’s decision and we will take it one day at a time and see what lineup he comes up with tomorrow and then go for the win,” the third-year defender said. “You just want to be relaxed, enjoy the team and try to get better, not worry about putting stress on yourself about the game.

“I’m getting there,” he said about whether he felt the leg had healed enough for him to contribute. “We have a lot of players on the team that play hard with knocks and bangs, and I think this may be a chance for me to show them that I am 100 percent with this club and want to be part of the family."


Stay connected: Get access to breaking news, videos, and analysis from North America's best soccer reporters via "This Week in MLS" newsletter or using our FREE mobile app.