Frustration reached new heights for Real Salt Lake in last Saturday's late-game collapse at FC Dallas. Even though there was no finger-pointing in the locker room afterward, there was a collective sense of shock among the players, and the disappointment was palpable.
The time to feel sorry for themselves has long since passed.
Real Salt Lake is back in action tonight at the Columbus Crew for yet another U.S. Open Cup play-in game. It's the second of potentially three qualifying games before RSL would officially qualify for the 32-team Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. Kickoff is set for 5:30 p.m., and the broadcast is a radio-only on 700AM.
RSL assistant coach Robin Fraser, who spoke to the media following the Dallas loss, said the team has no choice but to move on.
"This one's going to sting for a long time. Realistically, come Monday we need to refocus on Tuesday. For us it's an important game, come Monday morning it's just focusing on the next game. Part of that is addressing the things that went wrong," said Fraser.
The 18 players who were part of RSL's game-day lineup in Dallas will be joined by rookie defender
David Horst and rookie midfielder Alex Nimo for tonight's match in Columbus.
Real midfielder Kyle Beckerman echoed Fraser's sentiments in his postgame comments as well.
"It stings right now, we just have to get over it. We have a big Open Cup game Tuesday," he said.
Fresh off last weekend's match in Dallas, and with a league match at home this Saturday against San Jose, tonight's starting lineup should be vastly different to the one used in Dallas.
The U.S. Open Cup, a tournament open to teams from various lower-division leagues, has traditionally proven to be a lesser priority to most MLS teams through the years. In the early stages of the competition, particularly in play-in matches, often times the team that takes the match most seriously prevails.
Either way, it won't be an easy task for RSL for the simple fact it's a road match. Saturday's loss at Dallas dropped the club's road record to 0-5-0 thus far in 2008, joining D.C. United as the only teams without a road win this year.
Conversely, Columbus is 4-1-0 at home this year and is in a three-way tie for the best record in MLS with Chicago and New England.The winner of tonight's match advances to the last Open Cup qualifying stage against the Chicago Fire on June 10 at Bradley University. In RSL's first play-in match back in April, it trounced San Jose 4-0 at Rice-Eccles Stadium.