Real Salt Lake heads east seeking elusive back-to-back wins
Brian Nicholson, Deseret News
Two weeks ago as Real Salt Lake prepared to host the L.A. Galaxy, defender Tony Beltran talked about what a great opportunity the match was to build momentum and prove to MLS that retooled RSL is still one of the league’s elite.
Surprisingly, RSL fell flat against the Galaxy in a surprising loss at Rio Tinto Stadium. Two weeks later, it’s in a very similar situation — trying to shed the inconsistency monkey.
In each of Real Salt Lake’s three wins prior to last Saturday against Vancouver, the club followed those victories up with shutout losses. It’s not really the statement Jason Kreis would like his team to make.
“I feel like any successful team in our league has the ability and the capability to put together a string of games. You need to have a winning streak somewhere in your season,” said Kreis, who said he believes RSL is ready for such a streak.
Despite traveling across the country for a difficult midweek game at the New England Revolution this Wednesday at 6 p.m., Real Salt Lake is anxious to try and win back-to-back games for the first time in 2013.
The Eastern road swing includes a match at Montreal this Saturday, a difficult stretch indeed but one the players are looking forward to.
“I really enjoy playing midweek games, because you just get sharper, you don’t have to train as much in the week. This is what you play for, more games the better it is for me as a pro. I’m excited for it, I think it’s going to be two good challenges for us,” said defender Nat Borchers.
Wednesday’s match is the first midweek game of the season for RSL, and Kreis admitted the line-up decisions weren’t going to be easy. On the one hand, he’d love to build on the momentum from last weekend’s win against Vancouver and start the same 11 players, but on the other hand he must factor in fatigue both from last weekend and then for the Montreal match.
The potential return of strikers Robbie Findley and Olmes Garcia from injury also gives Kreis more line-up options.
Returning home with the maximum six points is the ultimate goal, but Ned Grabavoy said he’d like to see RSL put its best foot forward at New England.
“You look at Wednesday night and say if this is a game we can grab three points, let’s do it. Then that way you’re maybe not going into Saturday really feeling like you have to get something 100 percent,” said Grabavoy.
Wednesday is Real Salt Lake’s first appearance at Gillette Stadium since a 2-0 win at the Revolution on April 9, 2011. Despite the turf field, it won there in 2010 as well.
Against a New England team that’s only scored four goals in eight games this season, the timing seems right for a strong showing from RSL. At the same time, Kreis said his team is in no position for overconfidence.
“If we take anything for granted and we look at our opponents and say that they’re struggling in one area or another, that’s typically when we get ourselves in a lot of trouble. We have to respect our opponents and know what they’re capable of. They do have a lot of nice attacking players,” said Kreis.
The Revolution are 1-1-1 at home this season, with that lone win coming on April 27 against Philadelphia. Real Salt Lake is 1-3-1 on the road.
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