After a very difficult start of the season where Real Salt Lake played 5 of the initial 7 games away from home, there is now a chance to get some points at home.
RSL played away at San Jose winning 2-0 where the team played well. At the beginning of the season there were some many new faces, injured players and a lot of new starters in the team and RSL were facing the supporter shield winner of 2012 season – an excellent beginning of the season for RSL.
Then it was time to go to DC and play where Real Salt Lake hasn’t had the best results over the years and this year wasn’t going to be the time for a win. RSL lost 1-0 as the team was still missing key players but kept showing a lot of improvement.
The 3rd game away from home was against FC Dallas. RSL was missing too many important players between injuring and International call ups to have much of a chance. RSL lost the game 2-0. If there was one positive out of the match it was that Nat Borchers played 90 minutes and was back on the pitch with the starting 11.
The 2nd leg of the Rocky Mountain Cup would be the 4th game away for Real Salt Lake. RSL lost 1-0 completing a 3-game losing streak as a visitor. Injuries still affected this game as Robbie Findley and Joao Plata were not available for selection.
The 5th game for Real Salt Lake was last week against Vancouver Whitecaps. This game ended in a 1-1 tie. Injuries were again part of RSL life for this game Robbie Findley still out, Cole Grossman still out with a concussion and Sebastian Velasquez had a broken hand.
Keeping all this in mind Real Salt Lake played. The highlights of the game were the beautiful goal by Olmes Garcia and the awful penalty call from the official – a hand ball that Nat Borchers and all RSL fans still question.
This Saturday, April, 20th at 7:00 PM MST Real Salt Lake will start a 3 game home stand. That’s 3 games against teams of the Western Conference where every single point is vital to gain momentum and start guiding the team toward the top of the table.
Those 3 games come against Chivas USA, LA Galaxy and Vancouver Whitecaps – teams with very decent record so far this season and all of them above Real Salt Lake in the standings.
Chivas USA (3-2-1 / 2nd place/ 10 points) is the first visitor. Chivas is no longer the team everyone can just pencil in points against. They are playing good “Futbol” since new coach Jose Luis Sanchez Sola (known as “El Chelis”) took over Chivas USA from former RSL assistant Robin Fraser. You can see that they have been more organized and a lot more dangerous in the attack. They really have improved from past years and to me if they continue this way they will have a spot on the MLS Playoffs.
On April 27th, LA Galaxy (2-1-2 / 4th place / 8th Points) is the next team to visit Sandy. The MLS champions have only lost 1 game this season so far and with Donovan back on the line up they are still a
team to fear. They have very talented and experienced players that can change the dynamic of a game. LA Galaxy will host Kansas City this weekend; if KC wins it will help RSL on the standings, of course, assuming RSL takes care of business at home.
On May 4th, Real Salt Lake will host at the Rio Tinto Stadium Vancouver Whitecaps (2-2-2 / 5th place / 8 Points). RSL will look forward to get a second chance at Vancouver, a team they tied last week away on a controversial match.
Vancouver is probably the weakest team to visit the RioT in the next coming weeks but if Real Salt Lake isn’t taking care of business it can hurt them.
Real Salt Lake needs to win these 3 matches at home and collect all 9 points available for them before they go again on the road for 3 games against New England Revolution (May 8th), Montreal Impact (May 11th) and Chivas USA (May 19th).
Staying at home for these 3 games coming up is very important for RSL and could be a big advantage for them. No traveling time means not missing training days which can help them get everyone healthy, keep improving the chemistry and the strategy.
Winning these 3 games will help Real Salt Lake get on a good winning momentum, atmosphere, happiness and confidence right before going on the road again.
RSL has 9 vital points coming up that they can’t afford losing if they want to be competitive in the league, keep focusing on their goal of making the MLS Playoffs and be a contender for the tittle this 2013 season.