SANDY — In preparing for Saturday night's game with FC Dallas, Real Salt Lake coach Jason Kreis was looking ahead.
Not that he was looking past Dallas, but he was looking toward this week when RSL has two games, starting with Tuesday night's game at Rio Tinto Stadium against Panamanian club FC Tauro in a CONCACAF Champions League match.
Because three of his top players had played matches three nights earlier with their national teams, Kreis opted to rest them for the most part Saturday with this week's games in mind.
Real ended up losing to Dallas 2-1 on a goal in the 94th minute when RSL was trying to push through a winning goal of their own. But Kreis had no regrets about resting some of his star players either for the whole game or part of the game.
"We put a tremendous amount of emphasis on Tuesday night's game," Kries said after the loss. "Hopefully the one thing we gained out of tonight was some rest for a couple of our players so they're fresh and ready to go come Tuesday night."
Kyle Beckerman, Alvaro Saborio and Will Johnson had each played 90 minutes Wednesday — Beckerman for the U.S., Saborio for Costa Rica and Johnson for Canada, in national team matches.
"There wasn't a choice for me," Kreis said. "They had to be rested tonight and there was only a question of how long I would want them to play, which was definitely less than a half."
As disappointed as Kreis and his players were about missing a chance to get three points and creep within a couple of points of Western Conference leader San Jose, they're trying to look ahead.
"We have to stuff this one off and look forward to another challenge with the Champions League," said Nat Borchers. "It's really all or nothing right now with the Champions League. We've got to come out strong against the Panamanian team."
With Saturday's loss, Real has now lost four straight games in all competitions and three straight MLS games with their last victory coming clear back on July 27. With just three home games and five road games left in the MLS season, Kreis is concerned things are going the wrong direction for his club.
"I think that we are in a very precarious position right now, because we put a ton of emphasis on this game," he said after the loss. "So now we're at a precipice of what we do from here because this could be a real emotional heartbreaker for us. We have to stay together and we've got to continue forward and we got to continue to believe and Tuesday night, if we play this way, then we'll get the result and then maybe roll from there."