There's no time for Real Salt Lake to bemoan Wednesday's missed opportunity against the worst team in Major League Soccer.
Tonight, the best team in MLS makes its only appearance of the season at Rice-Eccles Stadium, and the home side will have to be at its best to have any hope of upsetting the New England Revolution.
"We definitely want to come out and show that we can really play and hope we can take it to them a little bit," said RSL defender Chris Wingert. "But at the end of the day the most important thing for us is to get three points at home."
Three points got away from RSL against shorthanded San Jose on Wednesday, and a win tonight at 7:30 will be even tougher to come by against the Revs.
New England owns the best record in the MLS at 8-3-3 and is in the midst of a seven-game unbeaten streak, but even more impressive is the fact most of the damage has been done without injured Taylor Twellman.
Twellman, the 2005 league MVP, has only appeared in one match this year. Eight different players have scored in Twellman's absence, including four each from Kheli Dube and Steve Ralston.
"(Coach) Steve Nicol has them all on the same page it seems like every game," said RSL keeper Nick Rimando. "If anything I'd say they're a consistent side that always creates chances."
Unlike RSL, the Revolution have done a big chunk of their damage on the road with an impressive 5-1-1 record. Their success really shouldn't come as a surprise, since they have appeared in three straight MLS Cups, despite losing all three.
"Year in and year out since I've been in the league they're just consistently good every year," said Wingert. "They always get into the playoffs."
Salt Lake, meanwhile, has never made the playoffs, but a win over the Revolution would go a long way toward proving 2008 might be the year the drought finally ends.
While New England owns a 5-0-2 record in its past seven matches, RSL's on a modest unbeaten streak as well. It owns a 2-0-2 record in its past four matches, including three straight shutouts. Unfortunately for RSL, they have scored only one goal during those three matches.
Coach Jason Kreis isn't necessarily panicking, because his team is creating plenty of scoring opportunities. It's just struggling to put them away.
"We're going to approach this game as we have every home game. It's about us. We're not going to worry too much about the opposition, we're not going to make tactical changes for the opposition. We're just coming out and doing what we have been doing at home, which is to be a very good attacking side," said Kreis.
The build-up has been good in RSL's past two home matches but not the finishing with two straight scoreless draws at home. Against Kansas City two weeks ago RSL unleashed 19 shots, and Wednesday they finished with a staggering 24 shots against San Jose.Against New England keeper Matt Reis, who's having an MVP-type season, RSL's finishing will have to be spot on.
RSL on the air
Revolution at RSL
Today, 7:30 p.m.
Radio: 700 AM/1600 AM
E-mail: [email protected]