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Real Salt Lake looking to get back some of its swagger

Published: Saturday, May 7 2011 9:50 p.m. MDT

RSL's Nat Borchers, right, battles Alejandro Moreno.    (Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News) RSL's Nat Borchers, right, battles Alejandro Moreno. (Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News)

SANDY — Jason Kreis doesn't know what happened to Real Salt Lake's confidence, and he isn't just blaming the Monterrey loss either.

He doesn't believe his first team has played well since late March.

"If I'm really really, really critical and really, really frank, I don't think that our first group has played that well for a long time. The L.A. Galaxy game at home was probably the last match I can remember when I would say that was a really nice performance," said Kreis, whose team beat Chivas USA 1-0 on Saturday afternoon.

RSL is 3-3-1 in the seven games since the 4-1 victory over Los Angeles — and the credit for one of those wins goes to the backups for their 2-0 triumph at New England.

For a team that came so close to winning the CONCACAF Champions League two weeks ago, something is definitely amiss with one victory in six games.

"We've got a lot of talking to do right now with our players, 'cause we need to come out of this funk and I don't think that performance showed that we're out of this funk," said Kreis.

Kreis has some ideas about what is wrong.

"Right now it's just confidence and the willingness of players to take risks, and play a little quicker and trust that their teammate is going to take a good touch if they play it to them under a little bit of pressure. Right now it's like we're seeing options and we're hesitating," he said.

Rediscovering that cohesion won't be easy with star midfielder Javier Morales out for at least four months with a fractured left ankle.

Saturday's victory will help though.

"Three points this afternoon was huge, if we don't get three points, then we're really going to have to look at ourselves in the mirror and be asking ourselves a lot of questions," said defender Nat Borchers.

FIRST TO LEAVE:Fabian Espindola was replaced in the 65th minute by Collen Warner, who eventually assisted on RSL's game-winning goal.

It turned out to be a good substitution for Espindola who was able to shower and leave Rio Tinto Stadium immediately after the match along with teammate Nelson Gonzalez to go check on their Argentine teammate Morales.

Espindola has struggled to find the back of the net lately, and there's no telling how the emotional player will handle his friend's nasty injury.

AWKWARD HOMECOMING: Chivas USA coach Robin Fraser, a former RSL assistant, was looking forward to coaching at Rio Tinto Stadium. He admitted afterward that the entire experience was tainted by the red cards and Morales' injury.

"It was a really strange game. The whole tone of the game was strange. I think the red cards, the injury, it was almost kind of surreal," said Fraser.

Fraser said a few words to Morales as he was being wheeled off on the stretcher.

"Javier Morales the person is even better than Javier Morales the player. He's the classiest player there is and you hate to see that happen to anyone, especially someone like that who is absolutely top notch and one of the best foreigners that's ever played in this league in terms of character," said Fraser.

HERO AMONG US:Brody Young, the Utah State Parks and Recreation ranger who was shot nine times in Moab last summer, was honored by Real Salt Lake prior to Saturday's match as the first "Heroes Among Us" in 2011.

Email: jedward@desnews.com

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