SANDY, Utah – Every so often, the weary do get a chance for a little bit of rest.
For a week, at least, Real Salt Lake are moving at a leisurely pace, with a full seven days between games. The break is sandwiched in between two weeks with three games in eight days and, as a result, the Claret-and-Cobalt had an unusual two free days at the start of the week.
Head coach Jason Kreis is hoping that the brief respite pays off.
“The guys were really, really sharp today in practice,” he said after training on Wednesday. “I think they enjoyed their couple days off and they deserved it. Now we’ve got to get ourselves prepared pretty quickly for New England and another three-game week.”
Kreis admits it feels like a tremendous amount of time to prepare for Saturday's upcoming match, when the New England Revolution visit Rio Tinto Stadium (9 pm ET, watch LIVE online).
“When you go through a tough stretch and then you have a week you are kind of like, ‘Wow, this is a lot of time to prepare,’” Kreis said.
His feeling is that the break will help his squad during this next frenzied stretch.
“You just need it,” explained Kreis. “Soccer just wasn’t made to be played this many games in a row.”
However, after this upcoming three-game stretch, the squad will find itself in unusual territory with just a single game across a month-long span that starts on May 12 and ends on June 16. That break includes a couple of bye dates for RSL, along with some open dates in the first half of June to accommodate the FIFA schedule.
Defender Chris Wingert is glad to see the league make these concessions, especially with the large number of internationals on RSL's roster, including Americans Kyle Beckerman and Nick Rimando, Canada's Will Johnson and Costa Rica's Álvaro Saborío, to name a few.
“It’s nice if they’re not missing games with us," Wingert added. "That’s more my concern.”