SANDY, Utah – Real Salt Lake started 2012 hot, grabbing five wins from their first six matches. Since then, they’ve hit a bit of a rough patch, grabbing just one point from their last three – all on the road.
A return to the friendly confines of Rio Tinto Stadium could be just what the doctor ordered, but RSL are well aware that their focus has to be less on the surroundings and more on Saturday night’s opponent, winless Toronto FC (9 pm ET; watch LIVE online).
“We’ve got to be extremely focused because anytime a team is without a win for a while, they are going to be scrapping and clawing and doing everything they can to get a result at our place,” defender Chris Wingert told ESPN700 Sports Radio in Salt Lake City on Thursday. “I’m sure their coach is going to be really trying to rile them up to come out and have a good performance.”
Toronto head coach Aron Winter has come under fire for his team’s 0-6-0 start. One more loss and they’ll equal the record worst 0-7-0 start set by Kansas City in 1999.
“We’ve got to be careful,” said Wingert. “We can’t get ahead of ourselves. I hope we’re not going to be complacent thinking that we’re coming home and things come easy at home because that’s certainly not the case. We’ve got to earn a good result on Saturday.”
The earning has come a little tougher for RSL in the past couple of weeks. They haven’t been outclassed in any of the last three games, but ended up on the wrong side of the score line against SKC and San Jose, then gutted out a tough 1-1 draw at FC Dallas this past Wednesday.
RSL captain Kyle Beckerman, for one, is glad to be home after the frustrations of the prior three matches.
“I forgot where the stadium is," he joked with MLSsoccer.com on Wednesday, "so it will be good to get back there."
And it’ll be good to get back into the win column as well, should RSL manage it. Wingert feels like that’ll be the case as long as the focus is there.
“Hopefully our mindset will be in the right place, and we’ll come out with a lot of energy," he offered, "and if we are able to do that, then I think we’ve got a great chance to get a win."