It gets ugly for Real Salt Lake in 2-0 loss at Sporting

For the second consecutive match Real Salt Lake went down by two goals early in match and finished with a 2-0 loss.  In this case they succumbed to intense pressure from Sporting KC at Livestrong Park, ultimately giving up two first half goals and never finding an answer.

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“We have to show a little more heart,” Arturo Alvarez told ESPN700 Sports radio.

“Very disappointing with the 2-0 loss,” said the midfielder, who started in place of the injured Ned Grabavoy and had the turnover that led to the first goal. “We didn’t come out from the get-go, and we didn’t play our game.”

Although the team struggled to maintain their shape in the back, it appeared that the real problems started in the midfield where Kansas City’s 4-3-3 didn’t allow the usual dominant RSL possession. Kansas City was much more active while RSL seemed a bit listless, playing in the heat and humidity of Kansas City.

The tide looked like turning early in the second half with a red card on the scorer of the first goal, Roger Espinoza. Espinoza came through midfielder Kyle Beckerman with two feet, resulting in a clear red card. Perhaps not coincidentally, it was also Espinoza who was blamed for starting a fracas in a preseason match between the two in what was described at the time by one twitter account as a “dirty studs-up” tackle.

“Honestly I thought he could have broken my ankle,” Beckerman told MLSsoccer.com following the match on Wednesday. “That kid, he tries to be [tough], but then he is the first to act like he got shot on a foul and I’ve just got no time for those kind of players.”

However, despite enjoying the majority of the time on the ball in the second half, RSL could not find the back of the net. They had numerous chances, but lacked the quality in the final third to create the dangerous shots on goal that they needed.

The loss marked the first time since April of 2010 that Real Salt Lake have suffered back-to-back losses. It’s also been that same stretch since RSL have given up multiple goals in consecutive matches.

“We’ve simply got to stay together,” encouraged Beckerman. “And all of us – we’ve got to find a way to get out of this form that we’re in right now. And we’ve got to try to do it as quickly as possible, because there are a lot of games coming up, and a lot of good teams, and a lot of road games.”

The road won’t get much easier for the Claret-and-Cobalt as they face a New York Red Bulls team at home on Saturday that features a potentially lethal amount of firepower.

“I’m pretty glad for it,” said Beckerman of the quick turnaround. “We don’t have to sit around and bask in the loss. We’ve just got to have a short memory.”