Real Salt Lake: Despite recent setbacks, no time to push the panic button, coach Jason Kreis says
Tom Smart, Deseret News archives
SANDY — Coming off back-to-back road losses, and with three teams breathing down Real Salt Lake's back for second place in the Western Conference, coach Jason Kreis hopes Saturday is the night RSL players finally say enough is enough.
Two months ago RSL was sitting top of the table in MLS, but few things have gone its way since as the club has struggled to a 3-6-1 record.
Despite the struggles, which include four straight road losses, Kreis said Real Salt Lake still has everything to play for as it hosts streaking FC Dallas at 7 p.m.
"This is no time for panic stations," Kreis said. "We certainly haven't gotten the results we've wanted over the past two months, but for me everything is still to play for. We're still in a position to challenge for the Supporters Shield, we're still in CONCACAF only down a goal to Herediano and a crucial series with Tauro coming up, so there's still everything to play for."
A return to Rio Tinto Stadium might be exactly what Kreis' team needs.
Despite its recent road struggles, Real Salt Lake has been pretty consistent at home the past month and a half, with three shutouts and a 3-0-1 record.
"We really honestly do feel our home crowd is important, our home atmosphere is important. I think we take a few more risks in the attacking half of the field that really set us up with the way we need to play all the time," said Kreis.
Real Salt Lake will be facing an FC Dallas team that is trending upward at just the right time. Currently on the outside looking in on the Western Conference playoff picture, Dallas is coming off an impressive 2-0 victory at Vancouver on Wednesday — a result that actually helped RSL, too.
Earlier this season FC Dallas suffered through a 14-game winless streak, but Brek Shea is playing much better of late, and David Ferreira is finally making meaningful contributions again after being slowed early on by the broken ankle he suffered last year.
"They're a confident group heading in the right direction," said Kreis.
Despite what seem like confidence-shaking road losses the past two weeks, confidence is never an issue with Real Salt Lake. That attitude hasn't produced many wins recently, and Kreis said it's time for everyone to step it up and change that fact.
"For me it comes down to a little bit of the guys taking it upon themselves. We have a lot of extremely good, talented, veteran, leader-type players that are playing a little below par and so we need those players to step it up. Collectively, as a group, we've all got to step it up. If we do that we'll be just fine," said Kreis.
Considering its recent road struggles, and with only four home matches remaining, it's imperative Real Salt Lake picks up the full three points at home the rest of the way if it has any hope of catching first-place San Jose.
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