SANDY, Utah — The dog days of summer are taking their toll on Real Salt Lake.
RSL will probably not be at full strength Saturday night when they host the Houston Dynamo (9:30 pm ET, watch on MLS Live), as fatigue has finally set in. Coming off their huge US Open Cup win over Portland Wednesday, coach Jason Kreis talked about the heavy legs of some of his veterans.
"I'm not worried about the emotional aspect of it or the mental aspect of it. The only thing I'm worried about is the physiological aspect of it — how tired the players are," Kreis told reporters following Friday's training.
"We had a couple of guys at the end of that game that were struggling a little bit with muscular things, so we have to be very careful with that because we have a lot of games left this year. We can't be putting all our eggs in trying to get the three points tomorrow night and end up with injured players. We can't afford that."
Besides playmaker Javier Morales, who has had some discomfort in is adductor, another key player who may simply need a rest is team captain Kyle Beckerman. He wore a sleeve over his hamstring during the Portland game, and it was on again Friday during training.
"It is just a little hamstring [issue]," the US international told reporters. "I think sometimes you have to do that, just a little support, some maintenance. But I feel good."
Of course, the 31-year-old wouldn't admit how bad he may be ailing, but his coach has a pretty good clue.
"I can't even add up the number of games he's played in the last month if you include the national team games and ours," Kreis said. "It's been like three games a week for the past three weeks I think, at least. So this is a difficult task, and I think we need to say as of right now he is 50/50; he's questionable."
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Beckerman also admitted that it has been a bit of a grind for him after playing for both club and country.
"I have no idea what day it is or what month we're in," joked Beckerman of pushing through both mental and physical fatigue. "We just keep on going, keep going. They tell me what time the day is and I show up."
"I just don't really think about it, just keep on trucking, keep taking care of my body and [I'm] just ready to go," Beckerman continued. "We know the summer is when we play a lot of soccer, a lot of games are going to happen so I was ready for it, prepared for it."