Before Real Salt Lake ventured east for a challenging two-game road swing this week, coach Jason Kreis said he believed RSL was ripe for a winning streak.
Thanks to some late heroics Wednesday in New England, RSL heads into Saturday afternoon’s match with Montreal riding a ton of confidence, and Kreis wants his team to capitalize on that momentum.
“I think we go for another three (points),” said Kreis after Wednesday’s win. “I think we’re playing with the house’s money going into Saturday. Be aggressive, and we go after it.”
Real Salt Lake is 0 for 9 in nine previous games in Canada, but Saturday's match is the club's first visit to Montreal.
Duplicating Wednesday’s win certainly won’t be easy.
The Montreal Impact are undefeated at home this season at 3-0-1, and the second-year club will be extra motivated after falling at New York on Wednesday 2-1.
Chris Wingert believes the win at New England gives RSL the right mentality heading into Montreal.
“For the most part I thought it was a pretty good match for us, and hopefully we can continue to build on that. Early on the season, that’s what you’re looking for,” Wingert told ESPN 700 earlier this week.
Fortunately for RSL, its complicated center back situation got some clarity on Friday afternoon when the league rescinded Carlos Salcedo’s red card.
In Wednesday’s match, referee Jose Carlos Rivero mistakenly showed a second yellow card to Salcedo — which led to Nick Rimandos’s penalty heroics — instead of a first yellow to Tony Beltran. RSL immediately appealed Salcedo’s red card knowing he’d be suspended for Saturday’s match at Montreal.
On Friday, MLS acknowledged the error by taking away Salcedo’s second yellow and awarding it to Beltran, making Salcedo available for Saturday’s noon kickoff at Stade Saputo.
Coming off his first professional start in New England, Salcedo could get his second start on Saturday. Veteran defender Nat Borchers didn’t accompany Real Salt Lake to Montreal and returned home from New England on Thursday because of lingering issues with the flu.
Fellow center back Kwame Watson-Siriboe is, however, available as he joined RSL in Montreal after missing the New England match because of the birth of his child back in Utah over the weekend.
Regardless of who’s in the lineup, RSL will be looking for a consistent effort.
“That’s one thing that we really want, is more consistency, to really string some wins together,” said Beltran. “And that’s how you add up points quickly, (and) how you make a statement in the league.”
Following Wednesday’s win, Real Salt Lake sits in sole possession of second place in the Western Conference with 17 points, four behind league-leading Dallas. Montreal is tied for third in the Eastern with 17 points as well.
If RSL gets another positive result in Montreal, it would certainly send a message to MLS. Kreis’ team, however, has never won in Canada. It is 0 for 6 at Toronto in MLS and Champions League play and 0 for 3 at Vancouver.
Copyright 2017, Deseret News Publishing Company