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RSL eager to get back after long layoff

SANDY, Utah (ABC 4 Sports) - After a 10-day layoff, Real Salt Lake returns to action Saturday night against the Seattle Sounders.
SANDY, Utah (ABC 4 Sports) - When Real Salt Lake takes the field Saturday night against the Seattle Sounders, it will have been ten days since their last game, and a full two weeks since their last MLS match.

A layoff like that can affect a team in one of two ways.

"It could either make us complacent and get us off track, or keep us hungry, fresh and eager to get back on that field," said goalkeeper Nick Rimando. "I hope it's the latter one because ten days is a long time to rest."

"It's up to us how we respond," said defender Chris Wingert. "To me, it felt like the break was needed. We had a lot of games in a short period of time with a lot of minutes. So, to have a few days off was great."

Before the break, RSL did have a brutal stretch of games, albeit at home, including two U.S. Open Cup matches that both went to overtime.

"We played 120 minutes in that last game [against Charleston]," said defender Nat Borchers. "So, I think we all needed a break and a little bit of rest after that. I know my hamstrings were killing me."

"I think it was ideal," head coach Jason Kreis said about the break. "We're right in the middle of our season, and had a very difficult stretch of games in short weeks."

Despite the much needed rest, RSL was on a roll before taking some time off. The team had gone 5-1-1 in its last seven MLS matches, and 7-1-1 including U.S. Open Cup games. Real is currently tied for second place in the Western Conference, just one point behind FC Dallas.

"One of the things we're realizing is that you have to prove yourself every game," said captain Kyle Beckerman. "You can't rest on your laurels. You can't rest on the last win, thinking we're this good and in this position of the standings. We have to just keep at it, keep improving and keep proving ourselves."

Seattle comes into Rio Tinto Stadium a much improved team from the one that lost to RSL, 2-1, on March 30th. Over its last nine MLS matches, the Sounders have a record of 6-1-2, the best record in MLS over that stretch.

"Everbody knew what Seattle was capable of," said Kreis. "It's a very well put together team with a lot of very good individual players."

"Even when they had a tough start, we realized how good they are," added Wingert. "We knew that wasn't going to last. They have too much talent, so it was no surprise to us when they started winning a bunch of games."

Real Salt Lake and Seattle will do battle at 7:30 p.m. Saturday night at Rio Tinto Stadium. The match will be televised by ABC-4 Utah.
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