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Real Salt Lake-Chivas USA Preview
By ALAN FERGUSON
(AP) -- Real Salt Lake has the most points in MLS thanks to a lengthy unbeaten streak. Chivas USA, however, is one of the few teams to beat RSL this season.
With a bevy of players returning, RSL will try to avenge that defeat and add to its best start in team history Saturday night.
Salt Lake (9-3-2) went 4-0-2 before its two-week break from league play and pushed its point total to 29 with a 3-2 win over visiting FC Dallas on May 26. Defender Nat Borchers scored his first goal of the season and ninth of his eight-year career in stoppage time after Alvaro Saborio had two goals in the second half.
RSL will likely get some help in its attempt for a season high-tying third straight win as goalkeeper Nick Rimando and midfielder Kyle Beckerman return from international duty. Will Johnson and Saborio also missed a 3-1 U.S. Open Cup loss to the Minnesota Stars on May 29.
"I think (the absences have) had an effect," coach Jason Kreis told the team's official website. "Without those guys here pushing the level of play up a notch, there have been times, I've thought, that perhaps we were lacking a bit in our technical skills."
Salt Lake is also expected to get defender Chris Wingert back from a hamstring injury, and veteran midfielder Javier Morales could play for the first time since May 9. Morales, who was dealing with an ailing quad, saw action in a reserve league game Tuesday.
Real Salt Lake will try to benefit from the return of those players while seeking a third straight road win over Chivas USA (4-6-3) after going 1-7-2 in its first 10 visits.
Chivas, though, snapped a five-game winless streak to RSL with a 1-0 victory March 24. Casey Townsend, the fifth overall pick in the 2012 MLS SuperDraft, scored his first goal as Chivas handed Salt Lake its only home loss this season.
"We know we're facing one of the better teams in the league and I'm sure they're going to be coming here looking for revenge on the last game," forward Juan Pablo Angel told Chivas' official website. "We've got to be ready for that, mentally and physically."
Real Salt Lake is 4-1-1 in its last six against Chivas USA, which is 1-0-3 in its last three MLS games. Chivas played to a 1-all draw against Seattle on May 26 before winning a pair of U.S. Open Cup matches during its league hiatus.
Chivas is 1-0-1 in its last two home games after scoring once while dropping its first five matches on its own pitch.
Updated June 15, 2012