Defense sound, but RSL acknowledge recent scoring woes
SANDY, Utah — On one hand, Real Salt Lake should be thrilled with their form heading into the playoffs. Defensively, they have posted three consecutive shutouts and have given up only two goals in their past seven games.
But on the other hand, offensively, they have been shut out of their last three games and are having trouble finding the back of the net.
“I am going to take the glass half-full approach, for sure,” head coach Jason Kreis said following his team’s 0-0 draw with Vancouver on Saturday. “For me, just a little thing here or there is better, and if we don’t have three ties in our last matches, we have three wins.
“Literally, I think that it’s just six inches this way or that way with some of the passes, or the final touches, or somebody just calms down to make a little bit better decision when on the attacking third, then we’re talking about all these wins we’ve stacked up. But I also think that it can be a positive thing to have a little disappointment in our minds heading into the playoffs to give us a little bit of an extra edge.”
During the summer months, RSL struggled defensively, and the results showed as much. Now that the focus is back in shutting down opponents, the results have followed as the team enters the postseason unbeaten in its last seven.
“Yeah, stay positive,” said team captain Kyle Beckerman. "It’s good that we’ve been getting some shutouts and if we continue to do that, we should have some success going into the playoffs."
RSL will take on the third-seeded Sounders in a two-legged Western Conference semifinal series, with the first game coming on the road at CenturyLink Field on Friday (10 pm ET, NBCSN).
In three matches with Seattle this season, the Claret-and-Cobalt have yet to surrender a goal. But once again, the down side of those three games is that they have also scored only once.
And with the playoffs getting underway with a trip to the Pacific Northwest, RSL know there is only one way they can lose as long as they continue with their shutout streak.
“We will continue to work on that and keep it [defense] solid and work on some scoring this week,” said Beckerman. “It’s a little bit concerning, so we will try and work on it, but if we can’t fix it, then I guess we better practice penalty kicks, because that’s what we’re looking for if we finish 0-0.”