Kansas City and Real Salt Lake will both go into Saturday's game in Salt Lake City missing a key midfielder to injury and a promising young player to national team duty.
For the Wizards, midfielder Stephane Auvray (surgery on his right knee) and forward Zoltan (torn ACL) won't play; fullback Roger Espinoza is on national team duty with Honduras. For Real Salt Lake, they will be without Robbie Findley, who was called up for the U.S. national team on Wednesday.
They will also most likely be without midfielder and captain Kyle Beckerman, who is dealing with a left foot strain.
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The injury Beckerman suffered — a strained peroneal tendon in his left foot — evidently is quite uncommon, so team officials have been seeking multiple opinions on how best to proceed. Beckerman has been evaluated twice already, but also is expected to see a specialist in Baltimore when the team travels to Washington next week for its games at D.C. United.
Wizards defender Matt Besler left training earlier Thursday after being hit by a Jonathan Leathers elbow just above his left eye. Besler needed eight stitches and was sporting a good-sized bandage after practice. "It wasn't a dirty play at all. We were just going up and he caught me," Besler said. "We were going against each other today (in a practice game). It just happened. I think he felt pretty bad about it, but I made sure and let him know I wasn't mad." Besler said the stitches won't come out until next week, meaning he'll need to have them covered for Saturday's game at Real Salt Lake. However, he expects to play against RSL and doesn't believe it will be an issue. Well, except ...
"That's where I usually head the ball," Besler said.