"It's an opportunity for some different players to step up and have different roles on the team," said head coach Jeff Cassar. "I'm excited."
Several players will see increased minutes, including forward Devon Sandoval, midfielder Cole Grossman and goalkeeper Jeff Attinella, who will make his third start of the season Saturday against Colorado.
"Anytime you get game experience when you play my position, it's obviously going to benefit you," said Attinella, who recorded two draws this season against Sporting Kansas City and Philadelphia. "But it's still been a little bit of time since I've gotten to play."
"Obviously Jeff is training like he's a starter all the time," said Cassar. "I expect him to be ready."
Grossman spoke with Beckerman before RSL's captain left for the World Cup, and he knows he has big shoes to fill.
"We were talking last night and he just said good luck," Grossman said. "He believes in me and believes in us. He's an incredible leader and an incredible captain. His belief and encouragement for me personally means the world."
Did Attinella get any tips from Rimando?
"He told me I had to return his weed wacker before he left," Attinella said with a smile. "That was what we talked about most."
With Beckerman, Rimando and Saborio slated to miss at least six MLS games and possibly three U.S. Open Cup matches, RSL's vaunted depth will be put to the test. But the team isn't concerned.
"I'm not worried about it whatsoever," said defender Tony Beltran. "Everybody on this roster is completely capable of contributing throughout the whole season when called upon."
RSL is still the only unbeaten team in MLS at 5-0-5. Real has scored eight goals in its last two games, including a 5-2 victory over Houston Sunday night. Colorado comes in with a record of 4-3-3 and just lost to lowly Chivas. But RSL is not taking the Rapids lightly at all. Colorado won last year's Rocky Mountain Cup, and RSL wants it back.
"Being a first year coach, I want to win as many trophies as I can for the club," Cassar said. "I know it means a lot to the players. It's a rivalry that means a lot to the fans and it means a lot to the club too."
"They do have dangerous players," said Beltran. "They beat us a couple times last year, so it's a team we should want to get the better side of."
RSL and Colorado play Saturday night at 7:30 on CW-30.
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