Real Salt Lake have a scoring problem.
They've been shut out in three straight matches, and enter Friday’s home match against San Jose (10 pm ET, Univision Deportes) on a 316-minute scoreless streak. The forwards aren’t doing the team any favors, scoring just two goals this year.
The last time that RSL scored a goal was, coincidentally, against the Quakes, nearly a month ago. Midfielder Javier Morales provided the tally with a spectacular volley from distance.
RSL rank near the bottom of the league in goals scored this year, notching just six through seven games. Only one of those goals came in the run of play from a forward, with 20-year-old Jordan Allen nodding home a Morales cross late in the team’s 2-1 win over Toronto FC.
“You try not to think about it too much,” Allen said of the scoring drought on Thursday after practice. “You just play the game. It’s not like you’re never scoring goals because in training you’re scoring a ton of goals each week. Obviously once you do score a couple goals, you get a little bit more confident and you get on a little bit of a roll. So it’s just about getting those first one or two goals and then going from there.”
Head coach Jeff Cassar spoke about breaking old habits in RSL’s continued transition to the their new, 4-3-3 formation, saying that the team needs to be quicker on the break and constantly looking to attack.
“In this formation, there are times when you’ve got to go,” Cassar said. “It’s not pull it back and swing it back around, it’s a go. We have to recognize those times when we get at people, and we can get at people, we’ve got to go with conviction.”
When asked about struggles of the forwards, RSL’s boss explained that it’s not all their fault, but that, collectively, the team needs to be more precise in the final third.
“It’s service. It’s movement. It’s the final ball,” Cassar said. “That final ball for a striker, it needs to be perfection and we need to continue to strive to get better at that.”
Defender Tony Beltran voiced his support for the forwards, saying that he doesn’t envy the position that they’re in.
“It’s a tough job being a forward,” Beltran said. “Goal scorers are going to go through streaks. I’m not surprised if we get really hot soon because we’ve got some really talented players up there, so no worries.”