SANDY, Utah — To say Real Salt Lake struggled against the San Jose Earthquakes last season would be an understatement.
Most teams faltered against last year's Supporters' Shield winners, but maybe not quite to the extent RSL did. In 2012, the Claret-and-Cobalt were 0-3 facing the Quakes and outscored 10-2 in the three losses, including a 5-0 thrashing on July 14 that was the second-worst loss in club history.
"Obviously, it's going to be in the back of our heads," RSL midfielder Sebastian Velasquez said. "It's a new season. It's new blood, and we are excited to get out there and make a difference this year and not let it happen again."
Despite the horrific results last season — RSL played both games at Buck Shaw Stadium shorthanded as they were shown two red cards in a 3-1 loss in April, and had another one shown in the 5-0 setback — the team is fairly confident it can get a result on the road.
"We've had some success there, not last year, but in previous years — in some of the openers as well," said midfielder Ned Grabavoy, who joined RSL after being waived by San Jose after the 2008 MLS season. "I just think it’s a field where there are a lot of chances. There are going to be chances on goal and you just can't make mental mistakes and fall asleep because realistically you'll end up with the ball in the back of your net, or San Jose is going to end up with a really good chance."
Before last year, previous history shows that RSL has had success at San Jose. They have a 3-4-1 record in eight league games played in the Bay Area. One player that will be very familiar with playing at Buck Shaw Stadium is Real midfielder Khari Stephenson, who played with the Quakes last season, including scoring a goal and posting two assists against RSL in the three wins for San Jose.
"I left on good terms. I'm good friends with the guys on the team I get along pretty well with the coaching staff and the front office. But you know, it's business. It's work," said Stephenson. "Our job is to go down there and try to get three points, so that's what it's going to be."