Real Salt Lake aim to maintain even keel after keeping unbeaten start streak alive vs. Dallas
SANDY, Utah — A third of the way into the 2014 season, Real Salt Lake have maintained their mantra — don't get too high when things go well; don't get too low when things go badly.
RSL coach Jeff Cassar and his team certainly aren't getting too high after tying a couple of Major League Soccer records on Saturday night. And not just because the team hit a low of sorts in a home-field, 0-0 tie against FC Dallas.
Not only did the team tie the 1996 and 2010 LA Galaxy squads by opening the season with no losses in its first 12 games, but Cassar tied the league record for longest unbeaten streak by a first-year coach.
“I honestly don't really care [about the unbeaten streak],” veteran RSL defender Chris Wingert told reporters. “I mean, I'm happy with the [shutout], but I wish we would've won the game. And, again I just think it's too early to even matter. I'm just concerned with earning points.”
Despite failing to score and pick up all three points on Saturday, the RSL locker room maintained an even keel after the game. There was certainly no celebrating, but there was nothing approaching despair.
“Usually, when we don't earn three at home, we're a bit disappointed,” Wingert said. “Not tonight.”
Don't get too high, don't get too low.
Cassar rejected the notion that the unbeaten streak has, in any way, diverted the team's attention.
“I don't think it's been a distraction at all,” he said. “We had a goal to get three points at home, as we always do. We came a little bit short. Our soccer wasn't particularly great tonight. And if we're getting results when our soccer isn't particularly great, I think that's huge.”
The Claret-and-Cobalt (6-0-6, 24 points) had 15 shots on goal, but only one on target. They controlled 66.5 percent of the possession, but much of that was in their own third.
“We had nice possession, but we didn't have possession with purpose,” Cassar said. “We just started off too passive. We are extremely aggressive at home, and I thought we didn't come out with that aggressiveness.”
The team is trying to put the disappointing tie behind them and focus on the next game, in Seattle against the Western Conference-leading Sounders next Saturday.
“I don't think much of [breaking the unbeaten streak record] at all, to be honest with you,” RSL midfielder Ned Grabavoy told reporters, adding that the first time he was even aware of it was in the ninth or 10th game of the season. “Now that we're there, I actually think less of it.”
The tie wasn't the worst news for RSL on Saturday night, as forward Joao Plata came out late in the first half after aggravating the same injury that kept him out of three-plus games earlier this season.
This time, Cassar called it a “slight hamstring pull,” adding, “I think it was a little bit preventative to get him out before it got any more serious.”
Plata is scheduled to undergo a scan on Sunday.