RSL practice observations, etc.

Real Salt Lake held its final practice today before departing for Toronto Thursday morning, and not surprisingly coach Jason Kreis kept his line-up pretty much intact with the one he used in last weekend’s 4-0 triumph over D.C. United.

The only variation to the line-up involved Fabian Espindola. The Argentine striker is nursing a hamstring strain and instead of scrimmaging with the team he jogged lightly around the Rice-Eccles Stadium field as Robbie Findley took his spot in the simulated starting 11. A team representative said that Espindola should be fine for this Saturday’s match at Toronto FC. If that’s the case, it’s hard to imagine Kreis not putting the same 11 on the field he did against D.C. United.

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The league handed down a $1,000 fine and a three-game suspension to Houston defender Eddie Robinson for his violent forearm to the face of Kansas City defender Tyson Wahl during last weekend’s game. Let me say bravo to the league for taking this action. I watched this match on my Tivo late Saturday night, and was stunned by the dirty play of Robinson. As Kansas City was lining up for a free kick he popped the defenseless Wahl right in the face.

The ref didn’t see it and no foul was called, but it’s good to see that the MLS Disciplinary Committee got it right a few days later. Defending champion Houston, which is still winless three games into the season will be without Robinson’s services on April 19 against the L.A. Galaxy, April 26 against Columbus and May 3 against Chivas USA.

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Details of RSL’s deal with KSL are still be finalized. However, I did find out that this Saturday’s game with Toronto will be tape delayed on KSL at 2 p.m. The match will be broadcast live on the MLS Direct Kick package. For fans that don’t have the Direct Kick package, RSL is hosting a watch party at Baxter’s American restaurant at The Depot. For more info about the particulars, visit Real Salt Lake’s official team blog at rsltothecore.com.

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MLS’s Thursday Prediction

Columbus (0) at D.C. United (2) — D.C. United should be hungry after last week’s drubbing against RSL.

Record to date: Correct 10, Incorrect 11.
Note: I’m counting draws in my record, therefore picking a draw that results in a winner is considered incorrect. Last week I was thrilled with my draw pick in the Houston-Kansas City match, but I definitely didn’t see a Toronto win coming at L.A. Toronto won once on the road all last year.

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