SAN JOSE — It was just over a year ago when Real Salt Lake opened the season with a decisive 2-0 victory at San Jose.
Since then, the Quakes have managed to build a 20-game unbeaten streak in all competitions at Buck Shaw Stadium.
“We’ve definitely found some success in San Jose, and we’ve also lost there so we know it’s going to take good effort and a good solid game,” said RSL captain Kyle Beckerman. “We’re going to have to dictate the game, and take our chances and if we do that we know we can be successful.”
The unbeaten streak came as a bit of a surprise for manager Jeff Cassar. Fresh off picking up career win No. 1 at the helm of RSL, he's now focused on the road ahead.
“I think it takes a weight off every one's shoulders. Everyone can get back and concentrate on San Jose, so it feels good, but we’ve moved on,” said Cassar. “I didn’t know they had a 20-game unbeaten streak, but hopefully it ends this weekend.”
Although this will be the season opener for San Jose, the Quakes are reeling from a 1-1 draw Tuesday night against Toluca in CONCACAF Champions League play. That still doesn’t mean RSL will sit back and let the tired legs of San Jose work for 90 minutes.
“I would assume that they’ve got a little bit of confidence in getting a result Tuesday night, so I think that they're probably feeling good about themselves,” said Beckerman.
“It should be a tough opponent, for sure. I think it would be tough either way, but now with their confidence in getting a goal, and now their season is underway, it’ll be more of a challenge, but it’s one we’re looking forward to.”
Keying in on the weapons that San Jose presents is also a top priority come match time. Whether it's keeping a steady eye on Chris Wondolowski or defending the multiple crosses into the box, it will take a full 90 minutes to get another result on the road.
“Stay organized, fight and just be positive out there. Same thing we did in L.A.,” said goalkeeper Nick Rimando, who is looking for shutout number 110 this weekend. “We know there’s going to be some breaks — it’s how we react to them, how we deal with them, how we recover and stay organized. If we can do that against a very good San Jose team with Gordon, Lenhart and Wondo up top, we’ll be successful.”
For Cassar, if his guys are willing to put in the right amount of energy, the results will shine through time and time again.
“It all starts with energy. If we come out with the right energy and the right focus, we have a chance always, because then our soccer will shine through,” said Cassar. “But we know it’s going to be hard — no game in San Jose is easy.”
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