SANDY, Utah (ABC 4 Sports) - Life in Major League Soccer can be a little strange at times. After cramming thirteen games into nine weeks, Real Salt Lake will now play just one MLS match in the next five weeks. If that sounds crazy, that's because it is.
"I'm sure there's a method to the madness," said RSL goalkeeper Kyle Reynish.
"Sometimes it seems a bit funny, but it is what it is," added midfielder Ned Grabavoy.
But because of U.S. Open Cup matches and national team games, RSL has two weeks off before hosting FC Dalls May 26th. Then they will be off until June 16th when they play at Chivas USA.
"It's quirky," said head coach Jason Kreis about the unbalanced schedule. "But it's also good. The bad news is that it doesn't allow you to get in a rhythm of playing one game a week. Ideally, we'd all like to do that. But we know the way our season is scheduled, we're going to have conflicts with other important things such as international call-ups for World Cup Qualifiers."
RSL will lose goalkeeper Nick Rimando and Kyle Beckerman to the U.S. National Team, while Will Johnson will play for Canada and Alvaro Saborio will join the Costa Rican national team. So at least when Real does eventually resume MLS play, they will be near full strength.
"The league has made a decision to take breaks during those times in order to make sure all of the players are available for the MLS games," said Kreis. "So, it's a little bit of a sacrifice on one part, but we gain something by having players like Kyle Beckerman, Nick Rimando, Will Johnson and Alvaro Saborio not miss many of our games."
While there's also an opportunity for RSL to rest, there's also an opportunity for rust when the team finally does resume MLS action. But Real, which owns the best record in MLS at 8-3-2, isn't too concerned.
"I think we've played enough games that everyone is pretty sharp," said Reynish. "You just don't want guys to be tired and burned out yet."
"I think it's good to get a little bit of a break," added Grabavoy. "Not just physically, but mentally a little bit. We can kind of get focused on a long second half of the season."