Real Salt Lake soaked in the satisfaction of snapping its four-game losing streak earlier this week for all of about five minutes. Mandatory cold bath soaks after the Tauro FC victory Tuesday signaled the team's attention had immediately shifted to Philadelphia.
As necessary as winning Tuesday's Champions League group game was, so is getting back on track in MLS play. Real Salt Lake has lost three straight league games, and though it still sits in second place in the Western Conference, three teams are in hot pursuit.
With eight games remaining in the regular season, RSL can't afford to drop points anymore if it expects to hold onto an advantageous playoff seed.
"Right now we just need to focus on ourselves and pay attention to detail. It's something we always say when things go wrong, but it's the little things that really count in those away games," said RSL keeper Nick Rimando.
With four straight road losses and a 10-1 goal differential, paying attention to those details hasn't exactly been a strength lately.
Real Salt Lake will try and change all that when it faces the disappointing Philadelphia Union at PPL Park at 5:30 p.m. on Friday.
Philadelphia sits in eighth place in the Eastern Conference, 16 points out of a playoff spot with 10 games remaining.
"They're a team that's desperate to get in the playoffs as well. It will be tough, but we can do it. We can get a result there, we've gotten results there, we've got results all over the region but recently we've just had a rough go of things. Friday night would be awesome to turn it around," said midfielder Will Johnson.
He said the key to getting a victory in Philly, where RSL has two ties in two all-time appearances, is cutting out those frustrating mistakes.
"We haven't lost games because we've given away fancy goals and teams are beating us, we've beat ourselves. As long as we don't beat ourselves I think we'll be in good shape," said Johnson.
RSL is taking plenty of momentum to Philadelphia following its convincing 2-0 win over Tauro FC. In fact, prior to Kyle Beckerman's red card in the 72nd minute, coach Jason Kreis said the effort from his players was the best it's been in a while.
That's the attitude he expects from his team on Friday despite the quick turnaround.
"We're playing well and we scored goals and we won and we had a shutout. We're going to take all those positive things and roll them into the game on Friday," said Kreis.
With five of its final eight games on the road, Real Salt Lake must find a way to grind out results away from Rio Tinto Stadium if it expects to withhold a late-season charge from Seattle, Los Angeles and Vancouver in the Western Conference.
RSL could have both Nat Borchers and Fabian Espindola back in the starting 11 against Philadelphia after neither started on Tuesday.
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