SANDY, Utah — Real Salt Lake have a belief that things are beginning to come together, and come together at the right time, as they make a stretch run toward the playoffs. With that belief, and with wins in their last two matches, comes mention of the ultimate intangible in sports: momentum.
“We’ve improved the past two games, so that’s good for us mentally,” midfielder Kyle Beckerman mentioned after training on Thursday. “There’s definitely momentum whenever you win, especially [when] you win two in a row. So we have this momentum, and now we’re going to try to keep it, and keep it going until the playoffs come so we can go into the playoffs with momentum.”
However, defender Nat Borchers warns that the past two results don’t indicate that everything is how they want it to be.
“We actually feel like we’ve got a lot of work still to do,” cautioned Borchers. “I don’t think we feel like we’ve made it yet. We definitely haven’t been playing our best soccer.”
The stalwart center back, who will return to the line-up this week against Seattle (Saturday 4 pm ET, watch LIVE online) after sitting out last weekend due to a red-card suspension, also wants to remain under the radar. He’s willing to let other clubs wear the “favorite” tag.
“We don’t want anyone jumping on our bandwagon,” he exclaimed. “I think everyone has kind of fallen off it this season. Our hardcore fans have been with us the whole year. I would say the majority of the media have jumped off. And we want it that way.”
The game in Seattle will be a good test for the squad, as the Sounders are currently ahead of RSL by six points in the West. A win on the road would allow RSL to close the gap to three points, with two games still in hand.
“I think we’re going to be really up for this game,” said Beckerman after returning from a whirlwind three-day trip to Belgium with the US national team. “It’s a team that beat us here, when that doesn’t really happen very much. So we’ll be looking to get that back. We can still get into that top three and get a bye at first, if we can maybe get some wins against teams above us.
“I want to see our guys show up,” challenged Beckerman. “Let’s show up for an important game and make sure that we’re ready to play.”
RSL are also hoping that this match will prove to be a therapeutic end to a challenging week.
“I think it’s fair to say that it’s been a difficult week on a lot of different fronts,” said head coach Jason Kreis. “The way that our schedule has shook out with the reserve-game situation [midweek in Chicago], and with international duty, we were hard-pressed to put together a meaningful training session this week.
“From that aspect, I’m a little bit nervous about the game. But I think the guys have playing well now for quite a while and have gotten back to the details that get us results in the last few matches.”
However, for Kreis, there is a personal side that has been weighing on him this week, as he attended the funeral services for close friend Bobby Rhine on Thursday night. The RSL boss is hoping that Saturday’s game will help with the healing process.
“For me on a personal side, it was very good for me to go to down to the service last night in Dallas, and get a little bit of closure from that,” Kreis explained. “And I’m hopeful that the weekend’s game will get me moving in the right direction, too.”