His work often goes unnoticed, but there's little doubt that RSL coach Jason Kreis knows the value of left back Chris Wingert, who's been nothing but solid and steady for Real Salt Lake since he arrived via a trade with Colorado last season.

Nobody has been more consistent in a Salt Lake uniform this year than Wingert — aside from possibly goalkeeper Nick Rimando — and the left back was up to his usual stuff throughout RSL's 0-0 draw with Kansas City Saturday evening.

From the left side, along which he's been a fixture in every MLS match in 2008, Wingert defended well, bombed forward when the opportunity presented itself and provided decent service on the end of his sweeping moves.

"Consistency" hasn't exactly been a buzz word to describe Real Salt Lake's three-and-a-half years of existence, but it certainly applies to Wingert.

"He's certainly one of the more consistent performers on our team right now," said Kreis. "I think game in, game out we know what we're gonna get with Chris. He's been defending one-on-one very well this year — I think that's an area of his game that he's improved drastically this year for us — and he's getting forward at the right times and giving some quality service."

Wingert said Kreis has given him confidence at the back, and he's run with it — even if the defender doesn't get caught up too much in individual performances.

"Coach has put some confidence in me," said Wingert, "and hopefully they're happy with me back there. At the same time, especially being a defender, sometimes your mentality is a little bit more of a team focus more than an individual focus, so I haven't thought about it too much. But I'm happy where I'm at, (though) I'd like the team to be winning more."

Wingert said his consistency has been born simply out of trying to get better every week — even if that's a cliche, as he'll readily acknowledge — and that legendary MLS defender Robin Fraser, an RSL assistant, has been a huge asset to him.

"Having a guy like Robin Fraser on the staff can do nothing but help you," said Wingert.

Two of RSL's four defensive spots have been in flux this year, but Wingert and center back Nat Borchers have firmly established themselves as fixtures in the starting lineup. Borchers has played every minute of RSL's 11 league matches, and Wingert has played in every minute but three.

The way Borchers sees things, having a guy like Wingert on the outside has made his job easier.

"You really enjoy playing with a player like that," Borchers said.


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