For all that has been made of Real Salt Lake's near-invincibility at Rio Tinto Stadium, they have shown a dramatic drop-off in form on the raod.
After adding another road loss Saturday night, falling to the Vancouver Whitecaps 2-1 at BC Park, RSL now sit at 4-6-2 in their travels, having lost five consecutive matches across all competitions, and four straight in MLS play. Their 23 goals at home are nearly double the 12 goals in 12 games they have scored on the road.
Despite their continued struggles, though, the Claret-and-Cobalt were able to snap one ignominious streak. Nat Borchers' stoppage-time header snapped a run of 360 scoreless minutes on the road in MLS play and 450 minutes overall, dating back to June.
HIGHLIGHTS: VAN 2, RSL 1
So what can RSL do to stop the losing trend? The same thing coach Jason Kreis has always preached – hard work.
“We’ve got to keep working. We’ve got to keep paying attention to the details and do a little bit better in every aspect of our game,” said Kreis.
There have been patches of good play despite the losses piling up. Against the Whitecaps, RSL was right in the game until an unfortunate clearance deflection landed right at the feet of Brazilian Camilo for an unexpected score. And after Dane Richards' curling goal in the 64th minute, the team didn’t hang their heads, they kept at it.
“I’m really pleased with the performance the guys put in to the first half. A lot of hard work and determination and grit on our part to try and get a result on the road,” said Kreis. “It’s been quite a few games now since we’ve done that.”
Real have a couple of games at home to try to regroup as they host FC Dallas Saturday, followed by CONCACAF Champions League game Aug. 21 against Panamanian side Tauro. And RSL hope to take care of business at Rio Tinto before once again looking for answers on the road.
“If we had the answer we’d be undefeated,” said team captain Kyle Beckerman. “It’s something you’ve got to work at. I think that winning on the road is really difficult and not many teams do for some reason. We’ll just keep at it and keep working hard and it seems if you can get one, maybe a couple others will come with it, so hopefully we’ll get one.”