We need to look at the video and continue working on the defensive part of our game, because right now it’s not good enough and we’re letting in too many goals. —Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando
SANDY — Minus 13.
That’s Real Salt Lake’s goal differential on the road this season in just six games. It’s the worst in MLS. Since a season-opening draw at FC Dallas, RSL has lost five straight on the road, getting doubled up in each.
Last weekend it suffered another humbling defeat at Philadelphia, 4-1, and unfortunately for Real Salt Lake it doesn’t have the luxury of regrouping at Rio Tinto Stadium this weekend.
RSL travels to Seattle this Saturday (3 p.m., KMYU) to wrap up a stretch of four of five games on the road, and it’s a stretch that can’t come to an end soon enough.
More misery could await this weekend as well, as Real Salt Lake has lost seven straight games at Seattle, with its last win coming in 2012.
“They have a huge home advantage there with all the fans they get. It’s always been difficult for us to go there,” said Nick Rimando.
After Saturday three of Real Salt Lake’s next four games are at Rio Tinto Stadium which might help it climb back up the Western Conference standings that it has gradually stumbled down in the past month.
It would love to kick-start some positive momentum on the road, but a lot of improvements are necessary before that happens.
“We need to look at the video and continue working on the defensive part of our game because right now it’s not good enough and we’re letting in too many goals,” said Rimando.
He attributes part of the struggles to a young backline, but Rimando said that’s not an excuse. He said the coaching staff is going over all the necessary things in practice, and now it’s up to the players to actually apply them in the game, things like being tight at the back, pressuring the ball and quality decision making at the back.
As shaky as Real Salt Lake’s defense has been on the road, this weekend could be the perfect opportunity to figure some things out.
Seattle has endured its own fair share of struggles this season, particularly offensively as it ranks dead-last in MLS with just seven goals scored.
“They may not be having the results like they should do this year, make no mistake it’s still a strong team,” said Rusnak.
The line-up on Saturday definitely won’t be a first-choice squad for Seattle as regulars Jordan Morris, Roman Torres, Osvaldo Alonso and Will Bruin have all been ruled out with injury, while midfield playmaker Nicolas Lodeiro is questionable.
Real Salt Lake’s Joao Plata is listed as questionable as well as he missed last weekend’s game with a quad injury.
Albert Rusnak said playing defensive to get an elusive result should not be an option.
“I don’t think that’s the way to do it. We were 10 minutes away from a road win the opening game of the season, we went defensive last 10 minutes and that’s when we conceded the goal,” said Rusnak.