LEHI, Utah — Real Salt Lake should welcome the New England Revolution to Rio Tinto Stadium on Fourth of July with open arms. After all, the Revs’ previous two trips to Rio Tinto — a 6-0 loss in 2009 and a 5-0 loss last summer — were among the highlights of each of those seasons for RSL’s attackers.
Still, Jason Kreis and his men are coming into this one with a cautious approach.
“On any given day, you can be beat by any team in this league if you’re not aware of where they can hurt you and what you need to do to win,” cautioned defender Nat Borchers. “I think it’s especially important at this time of year, the middle of the season … that you don’t overlook your opponent.”
Added captain Kyle Beckerman, “We’ve really put on two really good performances against them. They’re a proud bunch and nobody wants to get beat up too bad. I think they’re going to come in and really try to fight hard. And because of those two performances in the past years, this game could be a difficult one, one we’re really going to have to be up for.”
For Kreis, looking back at their previous success over New England could get Salt Lake into trouble. Instead, the RSL boss preaches focusing on the present.
“I always think if you spend too much time thinking about the past and what you have done before or what you haven’t done before, it’s always going to haunt you whether you’ve had good results or bad results,” said Kreis. “You need to be focused on the next game and the next team you match up against.”
Real Salt Lake are also hoping to add some reinforcements into the mix, although it’s a little too early to know which injured players may be available for Monday night’s game (8:30 pm ET; ESPN2, ESPN Deportes).
“It’s looking positive,” said Kreis. “Fabián [Espíndola] was back in for three-fourths of the training [on Friday], Paulo [Jr.] in for just a little bit. Arturo Alvarez was in for a bit. Chris Wingert was in full. It seems like we’re moving forward. Cody Arnoux was in full.
“There’s really nobody right now that I think is a super long way away, but I do need to check on Paulo because he didn’t make it as long as we wanted to.”
Even though there is plenty of caution coming out from the RSL squad, there’s also significant optimism based on the recent form that the team has shown.
“I think we can think positive with the last few results we’ve had,” said Borchers. “I think getting a result against Chicago was good for us, I think beating Toronto was good, and winning an Open Cup game was good for us. But I think we’ve still got a ways to go before we get back to the form we had early on in the season.
“That’s what we’re fighting to do, and I think it’s positive when we’re winning games and we’re still not playing our best soccer.”