SANDY — As long as Real Salt Lake’s been relevant in MLS dating back to 2009, it’s endured a summer dry spell.
National team call-ups and injuries have often contributed to the annual doldrums, and this summer is proving to be no different.
Since Kyle Beckerman, Nick Rimando and Alvaro Saborio were called up to their respective national teams for the World Cup in late May, RSL has suffered through a disappointing 1-3-2 record.
Last year it was a 1-2-1 record in July, and the year before the club went 0-3-1 from June 20 to July 4. In the three seasons prior, there were rough summer stretches of 1-1-4, 1-1-3 and 2-3-2.
“For whatever reason, sometime in the summer we always go through these stretches. We’ve got to get ourselves out of it. How we do it is up to us. We’ll find our way out of it,” said RSL midfielder Ned Grabavoy. “We have a veteran group here, nobody’s panicking. We understand it’s a long season. We’ll just go forward as a group and try and work on these things.”
Grabavoy said it’s naive to blame RSL’s notable absences for its five-game winless streak. Untimely red cards, penalty kicks, injuries and simply all-around poor performances are just as much to blame.
“Look, those are really good players, and I’m not going to sit here and say having those guys wouldn’t help us, 'cause it would. It certainly would without question, and not just in the games, but in the trainings, in the locker room, all that stuff,” said Grabavoy.
In saying all that, Grabavoy said RSL should be good enough to grind out results with its deep roster even without Beckerman, Rimando and Saborio.
Real Salt Lake will try and put an end to its frustration this Friday when its hosts New England at Rio Tinto Stadium (8 p.m. MDT, Ch. 30).
The Revolution won five straight games from April 26 to May 24, but they’ve lost three straight, including a 3-1 loss at home to Philadelphia. RSL, meanwhile, hasn’t picked up three points since a 2-1 win against Colorado on May 17.
“We’ve hit a little bit of a rough patch, but that’s part of a long season. You’re going to hit some adversity and the key is to try and bounce back,” said RSL defender Chris Wingert.
With four of five matches at home this month, the schedule is set up perfectly for RSL to enjoy a bounce-back month. Knowing that potential, defender Nat Borchers called Friday’s match the most important of the season.
Historically, Independence Day games at Rio Tinto Stadium or Rice-Eccles Stadium haven’t been kind to RSL, with a 1-1-7 record through the years. Last year Philadelphia spoiled the fireworks show with a 2-2 draw at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Beckerman and Rimando have both returned to Utah, but their status for Friday’s match is still up in the air.
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