Brian Nicholson, Deseret News
SANDY — With Real Salt Lake playoff bound and clinging to a two-point advantage over Los Angeles in the Western Conference, Fabian Espindola admitted that now is not the time to kick back and relax.
"We have to be careful, and not to be over confident," said Espindola. "To play L.A. ... they're a good team, so we've got to keep working and not relax."
The Claret and Cobalt got a bit of help from Rocky Mountain Cup rivals Colorado this past Sunday, where the Rapids were able to hold the Galaxy to just one-point in a 1-1 draw. RSL head coach Jason Kreis mentioned that he actually watched the game, and was absolutely content with the result.
"I watched the game, so I was obviously pretty pleased," said coach Kreis. "I was hopeful that Colorado would go ahead and get all three points, but getting one point and keeping LA from that full three was important as well."
For RSL fans, the return of forward Alvaro Saborio was a welcome sight as the Costa Rican netted a hat trick in the 4-0 shutout over Chivas last weekend. Saborio is currently sitting nicely at second place among all goal scorers in MLS with 17 goals scored.
"I'm really pleased that (Saborio) has continued a run of really good form for us this entire year," said coach Kreis. "For a while there he was the only one that was scoring goals, so it's important that we keep that going for him and he stay's confident and stays sharp."
The deciding factor in tonight's showdown will come down to defense, and which team can withstand a fury of attacks for 90 minutes. Chris Schuler was able to go the full 90 minutes at Chivas, returning from injury and filling the void left by suspended defender Jamison Olave for yellow card accumulation. With Schuler, Olave and Nat Borchers all healthy and able to hold down the RSL back-line, head coach Jason Kreis knows his players are meshing together wonderfully at the current point in the season.
"I think we are getting things figured out, and we're remembering what it takes to succeed here at RSL and how that comes about," said coach Kreis. "It comes about by all 11 players being extremely focused and hard working, and committed to defending together.
"I think we've gotten ourselves in a good place with that in the past couple weeks."
Kickoff is at 7 p.m. and the game will be broadcast on NBCSN.
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