Real Salt Lake gambled a bit against D.C. United on Saturday, and they lost.
They rested a number of starters, watched D.C. midfielder Dwayne De Rosario rip them apart for three goals in 31 minutes and had their five-game winning streak snapped in a stunning 4-1 loss at RFK Stadium.
“That was just a special player doing some special things,” defender Chris Wingert told the local CBS affiliate KUTV after the match. “It felt like everything he touched was going in the upper 90. It was just one of those nights and he’s the type of guy that’s capable of doing things like that.
“Unfortunately,” Wingert added, “we caught him on a night that he was on fire.”
It wasn’t the first time RSL played with fire after a big midweek win, but this time they got burned. In the midst of a similarly busy schedule back in April, head coach Jason Kreis rested his stars for a road match against the New England Revolution and his club still won, 2-0.
RSL rolled past the New York Red Bulls on Wednesday night, but without regulars like Jamison Olave, Robbie Russell and Andy Williams (and strikers Álvaro Saborío and Fabian Espíndola out of the starting lineup), RSL were no match for De Rosario on Saturday. He simply took advantage of an RSL defense that looked a bit organized and unsure of itself, notching the fastest hat trick in league history and an assist to Andy Najar in barely more than half an hour on the field.
“We believe we’re getting points because we’re working hard defensively,” Wingert said. “We weren’t able to do that tonight, and we’ve got to be a little bit sharper. [There were] definitely a couple of lapses - mistakes that we can correct.”
The loss also had some postseason implications, as RSL lost their grip on the second seed in the Western Conference to the Seattle Sounders. Coupled with a win by the LA Galaxy over the Columbus Crew on Saturday night, RSL fell 10 points off the pace for the Supporters’ Shield with just five games left on the schedule.
They return to action next Wednesday at home against the Chicago Fire.