Cassar: Schuler could be available against Orlando

July 3rd, 2015 | by Sean Walker
Real Salt Lake defender Chris Schuler started for Real Monarchs' 1-1 draw with Sacramento Republic FC on Wednesday, July 1, 2015 at Rio Tinto Stadium. (Photo: Rob Gray/Monarchs Media)

Real Salt Lake defender Chris Schuler started in Real Monarchs’ 1-1 draw with Sacramento Republic FC on Wednesday, July 1, 2015 at Rio Tinto Stadium. (Photo: Rob Gray/Monarchs Media)

A few news and notes that didn’t get into my preview story of Real Salt Lake’s home match against Kaka and Orlando City SC (which you should all definitely read here).

RSL head coach Jeff Cassar said defender Chris Schuler, who has been sidelined since May following surgery to repair a torn meniscus, has been working his way back into full fitness — and the RSL center back “is making himself available now.”

“He’s getting more comfortable and more fit,” Cassar said. “He’s not 100 percent fit, but that only comes with getting more training and more games.”

Schuler was a full participant at RSL’s training Friday at Rio Tinto Stadium, and he even took several hard shots against goalkeepers Jeff Attinella and Lalo Fernandez while drilling.

The 27-year-old from St. Louis played 110 minutes for the Monarchs over the weekend, starting and playing 65 minutes in a 2-1 loss at Arizona United SC and playing the first half of Wednesday’s 1-1 draw against Sacramento Republic FC. Both games were played on a natural grass surface, which was a prerequisite of Schuler’s last-minute loan to RSL’s third-division side.

“That was the plan, and it worked out really good,” Cassar said. “We could’ve had him on the bench (Wednesday night in the U.S. Open Cup), but we decided it was better for him in that particular game to get 45 minutes, and he looked really solid.”

Cassar also said forward Devon Sandoval is still recovering from a minor injury, and he could’ve played Wednesday if needed. But after RSL took a 2-0 lead to beat Portland and advanced to the Open Cup quarterfinals July 14, the coaching staff decided to be cautious.

“We had a two-goal lead, so we decided to be more safe,” Cassar said. “He’s close.”

Jordan Allen and Justen Glad are also close to full recovery from various injuries, as well. But the duo is “not as close” as Sandoval, the head coach affirmed.

Center back Elias Vasquez did not meet up with his national team when Guatemala faced the United States in Nashville on Friday, and the Central American defender will be available to play Saturday against Orlando.

“I think it’s about how he is taking care of himself,” Cassar said of Vasquez. “He’ll be up for selection this game, and then leave after for his national team.”

Orlando represents an “all hand’s on deck” scenario for RSL, and Cassar said his club “has to get three points.” Attinella agreed with his coach, adding that Kaka and the Lions have shown they can play in their first season in Major League Soccer.

“They’re a good team. You know they will come in here and be really competitive and try to win,” Attinella said. “I think it’s pretty obvious as an expansion team they aren’t afraid of coming into this league. They’ll play well, play good soccer, and go as far as they can.”

Sean Walker

Sean Walker

Salt City FC editor-in-chief Sean Walker has been covering soccer at all levels since 2007. He began his career in Las Vegas, and has since written for publications from the Intermountain West to Central New York, where he attended graduate school in 2012. Currently, Sean covers Real Salt Lake and Major League Soccer for A struggling Evertonian by birth, Sean follows European soccer through the blue lens of the Toffees, and has strong feelings toward the UEFA Europa League.

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