Real Salt Lake-Crew Preview

JEFF BARTL (STATS Writer)
The Associated Press

Real Salt Lake's unbeaten run to start the season was impressive, but coach Jeff Cassar is more concerned with how his club will respond after suffering its first defeat.

Salt Lake looks to bounce back when it visits the struggling Columbus Crew on Wednesday night.

Playing without Kyle Beckerman due to World Cup duty, plus missing Alvaro Saborio and Joao Plata because of injury, Real Salt Lake (6-1-6) fell one result shy of setting the MLS record for the longest unbeaten run to start a season with Saturday's 4-0 loss to Seattle.

Plata sat out with a hamstring injury and could return for this contest, but RSL announced Monday that Saborio had successful right foot surgery and will miss three to four months.

No matter who is on the field against Columbus (4-5-4), Cassar is expecting Salt Lake to regroup quickly.

''It was a fantastic run that we went on," Cassar said. "I'm trying to make sure the team will react the same way I do. We have work to do, and it's on to the next game.''

RSL snapped a three-game losing streak to the Crew with a 4-0 victory in the last meeting Aug. 24 in Utah. Columbus heads into this matchup having gone 1-5-4 since beginning the season on a three-game winning streak.

The Crew seemed to have a result in hand before allowing the winning goal during injury time of Saturday's 3-2 loss at Toronto FC. Coach Gregg Berhalter said he hopes his club learned from another tough experience.

"I think we are right where we should be," Berhalter said. "We are a team that still needs to improve. We're a team that can beat most teams in the league at any given day, but we need consistency and in games like this we need to come out with a result."

Justin Meram and Agustin Viana scored against Toronto. Berhalter said there will be changes to the lineup due to the short turnaround and a trip to D.C. this Saturday. He didn't elaborate on specific moves.

"It's a good opportunity to get some fresh legs on the field," Berhalter told the team's official website. "It's testing the depth of this group and I think that's what's important.

"The next lineup we play, I wouldn't necessarily look into it as if we're happy or not with the performance of those individuals, but we want to get fresh bodies on the field and we purposely planned the week like that."

Salt Lake is 3-1-3 on the road this season, but has lost seven of its nine all-time visits to Columbus.