If history is any indication, fans shouldn't expect Real Salt Lake to come away from its game today against the New York Red Bulls with a win — or a loss.

In the six previous meetings between the two teams, five times the result has been a draw. Only once did a team collect all three points in a win — New York handed RSL a 6-0 pasting at home in August 2006. Of course, history doesn't determine how the game at Giants Stadium is going to turn out.

"It's another big one. It got a little bigger because we didn't get the win over L.A.," said RSL midfielder Kyle Beckerman. "We are going to have to be focused. They are desperate for wins, and we could use another one, too.

"We played some pretty good soccer over the weekend. We didn't get the win, but the soccer we played was excellent. We have had some results there in the past, so hopefully we can go in there with the mentality that we can take it."

Scoring could be at a premium. The Red Bulls just had the longest shutout streak in the league this season snapped at 380 minutes in their last match against the Chicago Fire. The streak surpassed the previous mark of 355 minutes that was set earlier in the year by Real.

With RSL's leading scorer, forward Fabian Espindola, out for the next four to eight weeks, it will be up to somebody else to step forward. Something coach Jason Kreis doesn't think will be a problem.

"We have to look at the plan we set in place in the offseason and look at how we said all along we wanted a deep squad," said Kreis. "I think this is now a testament to this. A couple of weeks ago, I said that I thought all of our forwards are playing well. I feel strongly that well, so I don't think we will miss a beat."

Yura Movsisyan will likely start in Espindola's place. After notching a goal and an assist as a substitute against the Galaxy, it might not be a bad thing to have the 21-year-old forward with the starting 11. Andy Williams is back from international duty with Jamaica, but how fresh he will be remains to be seen.

With the race for playoff spots so tight, and with so few regular-season games remaining (seven), every game is critical for RSL (8-8-7, 31 points).

"This one has a little bit of a different scope because it is not a Western Conference team," said Kreis. "What it is, is a team we could be competing with in a wild card spot, so I think it is very important for us to pick up points there for sure."


E-mail: mblack@desnews.com