Final
  for this game

Union-Real Salt Lake Preview

May 7, 2010 - 9:08 PM By KATE HEDLIN STATS Writer

Philadelphia (1-4-0) at Real Salt Lake (2-3-1), 4:00 p.m. EDT

It's been a disappointing start for the defending MLS Cup champions, but Real Salt Lake is hoping a win in the opener of a three-game homestand has the club headed in the right direction.

The return of its top scorer could also help.

Javier Morales is expected to rejoin RSL on Saturday when it hosts the expansion Philadelphia Union, which hopes to avoid a fourth straight defeat by getting its first road points.

Real Salt Lake (2-3-1) snapped a four-game winless streak with a 2-1 victory over Toronto FC last Saturday. Jamison Olave and Andy Williams scored for RSL in the first half, and Nick Rimando had a shutout until allowing Dwayne De Rosario's goal in the 88th minute.

"I've been saying that we were running the risk of ... becoming not so positive about the way we're playing, but in the locker room we've felt very good about how we've played in every single match," coach Jason Kreis said. "But you need results sometimes to bolster that confidence and tonight that's the most important thing that comes out of it for us."

The victory came without one of the club's top players as Morales missed his third straight game. The Argentine midfielder, who has been sidelined with a groin injury and strep throat, has three goals this season.

His absence, though, has allowed others to step up, including Williams, his replacement in the starting lineup. The veteran midfielder scored his first goal of the season against Toronto FC.

A big factor in RSL's run to the MLS Cup was its outstanding play at home, and the club is trying to continue that trend this season. It was 9-1-5 at home last year, outscoring opponents 34-11. Before defeating Toronto last weekend at Rio Tinto Stadium, it played to a 2-2 draw against Seattle there on April 10.

RSL figures to have a good chance at another home win Saturday, given Philadelphia's struggles on the road. The Union have dropped three in a row - all on the road - and opened their inaugural season with a 2-0 loss at Seattle.

Offense has been a problem for Philadelphia (1-4-0), which has scored one goal in each of its last three losses, including a 3-1 defeat at Los Angeles last Saturday. The Galaxy led 3-0 before Jack McInerney scored in the 84th minute.

"We didn't expect to be able to start with five wins," coach Peter Nowak said. "We knew it was going to take some time, and more experience. It's going to take time to get the players familiar with each other."

Making it even harder to generate chemistry, the Union could be without two starters this weekend. Stefani Miglioranzi has already been ruled out due to a red card suspension while Sebastien Le Toux is day-to-day after suffering a knee injury on April 27. Le Toux, who has four goals this season, did not play last weekend.

The game start time was moved to earlier in the day in order to allow fans to watch Game 3 between the NBA's Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Lakers later that evening in Salt Lake City.






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