RSL looking to regain composure against Sporting KC

Jason Kreis

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SANDY, Utah — It’s rare to see visiting teams come out of the vaunted fortress of Rio Tinto with anything to show for their efforts. Last Saturday, however, Real Salt Lake’s shaky performance allowed the Columbus Crew to record an emphatic 2-0 victory on the road.

With a match against Sporting Kansas City looming on Wednesday night (8:30 pm ET, watch LIVE online), the Claret-and-Cobalt will need to find some composure — and fast.

“It’s difficult,” striker Álvaro Saborío said of the Columbus match. Saborío was forced to sit out the game serving a suspension for diving in RSL's previous match against the San Jose Earthquakes.

“I saw the kind of play [out there], and we know we can do much better,” the forward added. “But now we can think about the next game, and try to win.”

RSL will need to have a short memory going into the match against Sporting. The Crew scored both their goals within the first 10 minutes of Saturday’s match.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen Salt Lake get scored on that quick,” Arturo Alvarez said. “For some reason we couldn’t get our rhythm going.” 

The loss marked the second time in as many matches that emotions boiled over on the sidelines after the final whistle. Against Columbus, striker Fabián Espíndola had to be restrained by teammates after he tried to rush the Crew bench. Against San Jose, Quakes 'keeper Jon Busch had words with RSL head coach Jason Kreis after the match, who also had to be held back.

The incidents are not entirely negative for the Claret-and-Cobalt. The club is wearing its emotions on its sleeve, and the outbursts are, at the very least, a sign of hunger and fire.

“We know that Fabián’s a very emotional player,” Kreis said after the Columbus loss.  “He was in particular, I thought, trying to make a real difference for us every time he got the ball tonight — going at players, and trying to get behind them, or make the final pass, or make the goal. But it wasn’t coming off for him. He runs a bit hot and cold, and tonight at the end of the game, he was very hot.”

RSL have the third-best points-per-game average in the league. However, they’ve done that playing 12 of their 19 matches in the friendly confines of Rio Tinto. After their setback against the Crew, many players lamented the inability of the team to get back into position for at least a draw once they were down — something that has been a hallmark of this club after falling behind in the past.
 
With the prospect of taking on an in-form Sporting side and a weekend tilt against recent Emirates Cup champions New York Red Bulls, RSL have their work cut out for them. And if they wish to avoid another disappointing result, it’s fair to say they’ll need all the composure they can get.