A little more than two weeks ago Real Salt Lake had a golden opportunity to vault into first place in the Western Conference with a win at Colorado. It has subsequently dropped two straight matches, and a third would send RSL to dead last in the West and the entire MLS.

Such is life in the wacky Western Conference, especially with two-thirds of the season still remaining.

At 2-5-2, RSL has collected eight points in the standings, just one ahead of expansion San Jose (2-5-1). As luck would have it, San Jose pays a visit to Rice-Eccles Stadium this Saturday at 7 p.m.

A win would vault RSL back into the Western pack, but a loss would drop it behind an expansion team 10 games into what was supposed to be a breakthrough season.

There's still plenty of time for RSL to turn things around though, especially with its proven success at home and an upcoming stretch that includes six of its next eight matches at Rice-Eccles Stadium.

RSL is 2-0-2 on its home turf but winless with five losses on the road. An impressive homestand over the next two months should push the club back into contention.

This is the second visit by the Earthquakes this season. They were clobbered 4-0 by RSL on April 30, but that match was a U.S. Open qualifying match and didn't count in the league standings.

GRAB SOME BENCH: RSL defender Ian Joy is suspended for this Saturday's match after receiving a red card last weekend in the first half against FC Dallas. His suspension makes the return of rookie Tony Beltran all the more important.

Beltran was in France along with RSL teammate Chris Seitz for about 10 days participating in a tournament with the U.S. Under-23 National Team.

The U.S. failed to qualify out of group play, which enabled Beltran to return in time to participate in the second half of RSL's U.S. Open Cup loss at Columbus on Tuesday.

In that Open Cup match, Dema Kovalenko was red-carded, but because it wasn't a league match he won't be forced to miss this Saturday's encounter with San Jose.

MAKING PROGRESS: Construction workers at the Sandy stadium site began installing the 20,000 red seats on Thursday afternoon. Each chair is anchored to the concrete by four bolts, and it's estimated that about 400 seats can be installed each day.

Work has already begun on the playing surface infrastructure, and the overhanging roof is entirely installed.


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