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Real Salt Lake: RSL confident ahead of away match at Chivas USA

Published: Saturday, May 18 2013 4:24 p.m. MDT

Real Salt Lake midfielder Javier Morales sends a shot towards the goal as Real Salt Lake and Vancouver Whitecaps play Saturday, May 4, 2013 at Rio Tinto Stadium.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

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Over the past six games, Real Salt Lake has played three games at home and three games on the road. During that time, it has posted a 3-2-1 record, scoring eight goals and conceding seven.

The previous six games of 2013 were much of the same — average

“We’re average right now in the standings. I don’t think we’ve played like an average team, but we have average results,” said defender Nat Borchers about RSL’s overall 5-5-2 record.

Despite the relative mediocrity, midfielder Ned Grabavoy believes things are trending upward for Real Salt Lake.

“If you really look at the last five of six games — take out the Galaxy first 20 minutes of that game — the performances have been really good and we created a lot of really good chances, which is something we didn’t always do last year. Going forward if we can keep doing that and be a little sharper in goal, I feel good about things right now,” said Grabavoy.

The recent run of form has definitely elevated Grabavoy’s confidence, which could skyrocket over the next month with a very favorable schedule.

Real Salt Lake wraps up a three-game road trip this Sunday at last-place Chivas USA at 8:30 p.m. before returning home for four straight league games at Rio Tinto Stadium.

“We really need to get on a little streak where we’re earning points almost every week, and hopefully we’ll be able to do that this weekend and then come home for a few games,” said defender Chris Wingert.

Real Salt Lake, which is tied for third in the Western Conference, is itching for a result after what it believes was an unjust 3-2 loss at Montreal last weekend.

Chivas, meanwhile, is even more desperate after suffering back-to-back road losses at Kansas City and Portland by a combined score of 7-0.

“I think it’s a very dangerous time to face a team like that after two away results that have really gone against them, scorelines have been stacked up against them, and now they go home and I think they’re going to be super emotionally charged to get a result against us,” said RSL coach Jason Kreis.

When RSL hosted Chivas back on April 20, the Goats rolled into Utah a confident club with a 3-2-1 record. Even though his team won 1-0, Kreis talked repeatedly after the match about how Chivas’ bizarre tactical style gave Real Salt Lake fits.

At times Chivas' tactics seem reckless, and their results have certainly been unfavorable the past few matches.

“They’re taking risks all over the park. They are living and dying by the edge of the sword and at the moment they’ve been dying a little bit. But I think at any given twist, and if things go their way, they could be living large,” said Kreis.

If, however, Real Salt Lake finishes some of its inevitable early chances against risk-taking Chivas, another blowout isn’t unrealistic.

The potential return of Alvaro Saborio and Robbie Findley to the lineup after monthlong absences could certainly help sharpen things up in front of goal.

Wingert believes RSL will be prepared for whatever attacking wrinkles Chivas throws at his team.

“Fortunately we’ve played them one game, and hopefully that will help us be a bit more prepared,” said Wingert. “But in saying that, we like to stick with the idea that when we’re playing our brand of soccer, it’s more about us, and hopefully we’ll be able to do that on our field as well.”

After Sunday, returns home to host Chicago, San Jose, Los Angeles and Seattle.

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