SANDY — Multiple times this season, Real Salt Lake’s technical staff has talked about the need for patience after the club overhauled its roster last offseason by trading away several veteran players.
In reality, it was an immediate red flag of the inconsistency that lay ahead. Nine games into the 2013 season, that’s certainly been the case.
Coming off last weekend’s 1-0 victory over Chivas USA, which coach Jason Kreis dubbed arguably RSL’s best performance of the season, his team laid an egg against short-handed Los Angeles on Saturday, losing 2-0.
It was the third time this season Real Salt Lake followed up a victory with a loss.
“We’re finding our way a little bit. Unfortunately I felt when we’ve had a good performance we’ve had a drop-off immediately after, and that comes from guys feeling a little too comfortable about what they did and thinking they’ve arrived a little bit,” said Kreis.
After opening the season with an impressive victory at San Jose, RSL followed it up with a 1-0 loss at D.C. United. A few weeks later it followed up a 2-1 win against Seattle with a 1-0 loss at Colorado.
Saturday’s loss stings even more considering the Galaxy left five regulars at home, and it was a great opportunity for RSL to move into sole possession of second place.
Ned Grabavoy isn’t quite sure why inconsistency from week to week has become such a problem.
“I can’t really put my finger on it. I look at the group we put out tonight, and it’s a pretty mature group, guys that have played a lot of games, been in a lot of situations. It just seems like sometimes we don’t deal with a loss or we don’t deal with a win the way we should,” said Grabavoy.
Like the Galaxy, Real Salt Lake was missing several starters of its own on Saturday, but Kreis said that’s no excuse for an RSL lineup that featured mostly veterans to come out and play such a sloppy opening 20 minutes.
“Collectively we have to get ourselves more up for these games and recognize every single match if we don’t put in everything that we have, we’ll get beat. We’ll get beat even by teams who are missing five starters,” said Kreis.
Just as it hasn’t won back-to-back game this season, Real Salt Lake hasn’t lost back-to-back games either. That’s an encouraging sign for a rebound performance against Vancouver on Saturday.
With that said, alternating wins and losses isn’t a formula for success, but defender Nat Borchers believes the inconsistency is temporary.
“I think we have to acknowledge we have a lot of new faces, and we’re still trying to figure things out as a group. We’ve got a good mix of veterans and young guys in there that should be able to get the job done. It’s going to come."
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