SANDY, Utah – Following a tough week that included two tough-to-stomach losses, Real Salt Lake head coach Jason Kreis decided it was time to give his players a break.
RSL first dropped their CONCACAF Champions League opener to Costa Rica's Herediano before falling to the rival Colorado Rapids – both 1-0 road losses – prompting Kreis' decision to give the team three days off, allowing them to refresh both mentally and physically before gathering again Wednesday for training.
"I think it's necessary, any chance we can, with the number of times that we have so many games stacked together that we have to consider ways to get players breaks," said Kreis. "That's not always going to be resting in matches. Sometimes it's going to be giving them a couple of days to rest physically from training sessions and mentally to get away from the game."
Each player has their own unique way to decompress, to recharge the batteries. For both Nat Borchers and Kyle Beckerman, that meant staying an extra day or two in Denver.
"I was there and hung out with some friends and family for an extra day, got my mind off soccer for a little bit," said Borchers. "I think there are definitely times during the season when you have to get away from the game and just not think about it for a few days.
"This is one of those times during the season when we were able to get away and focus on our families and our friends and think about something other than soccer."
Added Beckerman: "It was cool. We needed a little breather. We have a long stretch coming up so it was nice to have the extra day. I stayed in Denver for one day and then yesterday I went fishing for a bit. … A bad day fishing is still a good day."
It was plenty evident RSL were lacking energy against the Rapids. Physically, they looked a half-step slower than normal. But with all the soccer played lately, which is more important, giving the body or the mind needed rest?
"I think both are equally important," said Kreis. "I wouldn't say one is more important than the other. I think for every individual player there is a different ratio there whether it is 50-50 or 60-40 or even 70-30. For me, I think it is more 80-20.
"I spent 48 hours with my wife and kids and got away from the game a little bit. It was important for me, for sure. That's why I said it's 80 [percent] mental for me, or maybe even 90."
The Claret-and-Cobalt are now back at it both physically and mentally, preparing for their game Saturday against Vancouver (7 pm ET, watch LIVE online). And though last week was certainly tough, they have also had a chance to put it behind them.
"We are in a really good position, so we should really have smiles," said Beckerman. "We are out here working hard and we know that is what got us where we are, so we just need to keep working and looking at the positive things that have and will happen to us."