This story could be painful reading for RSL faithful.

On the bright side, your MLS team hasn't played all that bad over the course of the 2008 season and has put itself in some pretty good positions on several occasions. No question, Salt Lake is miles ahead of anywhere it's been in franchise history.

But the team's 13th MLS game of 2008 illustrated that while Real Salt Lake has had a number of chances to really turn the corner in the league standings, it hasn't taken advantage of them.

Playing against expansion side San Jose on Wednesday, RSL had a man advantage for 46 minutes but failed to score in what resulted in a disappointing 0-0 draw.

While it's clear that Real has improved in 2008 — and the team deserves credit for that fact — it's also obvious that it hasn't taken the next step — yet.

Whether it's failing to convert numerous chances, which was the problem against San Jose, or dropping points from a winning position, Salt Lake must figure out ways to capitalize on opportunities when they present themselves.

"Anytime you don't win, you're losing points," said captain Kyle Beckerman. "The games we're tying we were the better team on the field ... That's been frustrating, but (I'm) pretty happy we're not giving up many goals and not losing, so that's a good sign for us to keep pushing forward."

Following what proved to be RSL's unlucky 13th league game, here's a quick run-down of the chances Salt Lake has blown so far:

• At home to Chicago in the season-opener, Salt Lake jumps out to a 1-0 lead before conceding a stoppage-time equalizer.

• At home to Los Angeles, RSL scores twice in the opening 18 minutes before settling for a 2-2 draw via two David Beckham goals.

• On the road at Dallas, Real scores first through Fabian Espindola before conceding two late goals that led to defeat.

• At home to Kansas City, RSL controls almost all the play but fails to score in a 0-0 draw.

All of which led to Wednesday night, which again saw Salt Lake control almost all the play, only to drop two points.

For those keeping score at home, RSL has dropped eight points from a winning position in 13 leagues, and when you add the four points Salt Lake coughed up in its two 0-0 home draws RSL would be leading the Western Conference.

Not that RSL coach Jason Kreis is panicking yet.

Asked whether he was concerned about the fact that RSL dropped two points that would've lifted it into a tie for second place, Kreis said he was more concerned with how his players are performing than he is with the current Western Conference standings.

"I do think it's a bit early to look at the standings, and I think everybody in this room remembers we started off the year saying we weren't going to be talking about points and we weren't going to be talking about results," said Kreis. "So I prefer we stick as a franchise to that focus and that mind-set that we went into the season with.

"We just look at it and say, 'We're playing good soccer.' Obviously, there's some points we would've liked to have picked up along the way, but we believe it we continue to play good soccer those points will bounce back our way."

RSL faithful can only hope.


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