SANDY, Utah — After another disheartening loss with a shot for a trophy at home, Real Salt Lake know they don’t have time to feel sorry for themselves — at least not if they want to have any chance at the Supporters’ Shield and momentum heading into the MLS playoffs.
“I think this team has a choice right now,” said defender Nat Borchers following Tuesday’s 1-0 loss to D.C. United in the US Open Cup championship game at Rio Tinto Stadium. “We can let this thing bring us down and affect our future results, or we can put it behind us and move on. That’s the choice we have to make right now.”
RSL (15-10-6, 51 points) are tied atop the Western Conference with Seattle, who have two games in hand on the Claret-and-Cobalt. With only three games left, coach Jason Kreis feels there isn’t much the staff can do to get the team ready to return to MLS action on Saturday when they play host to FC Dallas (9 pm ET; MLS Live).
“We’ll see. We’ll see,” Kreis said when asked how he thinks his team will respond. “I think there’s some points where coaches have a lot of answers and there’s some points where coaches look to the players for answers. This will be a moment I look to the players for answers.”
At least one player is happy for a quick return to action without having to dwell on the loss for very long.
“Sometimes it’s good to have a game this quickly, to focus on another opponent and focus on another match, to get the bad taste out of the mouth and to move on,” said midfielder Ned Grabavoy. “Everyone is going to say it, but we need to do that. As tough as it is, we need to do that. Right now, maybe this makes us stronger somehow — that’s really the only positive we can take from it.”
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The Supporters’ Shield is still within reach and the MLS Cup is another goal. And while RSL missed out on one chance to get back into CONCACAF Champions League, players are hoping to overcome their gutted feeling and embrace the available openings.
“There’s only one way to rebound. This game is devastating. Let’s be honest, this is devastating. We had a huge opportunity to get back into Champions League and win a trophy for this club. Now it’s gone,” said defender Tony Beltran. “There are still two trophies to play for. As hard as it is to put this game aside, we will have to do that.”