SANDY — Jason Kreis was a very irked coach talking with the media following Wednesday's humbling 3-0 loss to Chicago.
He was irked his team gave up a goal on a throw-in. He was irked Kyle Beckerman had a massive lapse in judgment. He was irked with the way Yordany Alvarez defended a situation prior to Chicago's second goal, and he was irked Chris Schuler gave up possession on the sideline so easily prior to the third goal.
Those were just the glaring troubles as well for Real Salt Lake.
"Every dangerous chance that was created against us was lack of discipline, lack of discipline, lack of discipline," said Kreis.
For a team that just a week ago was riding a five-game winning streak, RSL is suddenly limping toward the playoffs with back-to-back multi-goal losses to D.C. United and Chicago, two teams narrowly on the outside of the playoff picture with a month remaining.
RSL lacked the same urgency as D.C. United and Chicago the past two matches, and it showed.
"I do know that when this group doesn't have their backs against the wall they tend to relax," said Kreis.
Following back-to-back drubbings, and with three of its last four games on the road, Real Salt Lake certainly isn't in a position to relax the final month of the season. Kreis hopes his players recognize that situation.
"There's just so much to play for in my eyes, and I guess maybe I'm not getting that message through to the players. Maybe they think they can just lose all the rest of the games and walk into the playoffs and win, I don't know," said Kreis.
Obviously none of his players are happy about limping toward the finish line, and midfielder Will Johnson sees the situation from a slightly different perspective.
"You can't peak too early. I think come playoff time we'll be alright. Obviously momentum or no momentum, this is a team that's been through a lot of tough games, big games, ups and downs and you'd like to think if you're not going in on a 10-game winning streak that you can pull together and get some results," said Johnson.
The X-factor for RSL is Javier Morales. He made his long-awaited return as a substitute Wednesday, and he'll gradually be working his way back into the mix over the next four games. He's basically in preseason form.
Morales isn't the only player in that situation either. With Chris Wingert still working his way back from a broken wrist, Ned Grabavoy still working his way back from a groin injury that sidelined him for a month, and Tony Beltran out for several more weeks with his own groin injury — not to mention Kyle Beckerman suspended for this weekend's game and perhaps longer — RSL will be forced to shuffle lineups this final month instead of building momentum toward the playoffs.
Real Salt Lake has been dealing with those issues all year, so it should be suited to handle the adversity.