Real Salt Lake victory begins MLS playoff push in earnest

SANDY, Utah -- The playoffs may have started for Real Salt Lake with last weekend's loss to Montreal, but RSL finally looked like a playoff team on Wednesday in a 4-0 win over the San Jose Earthquakes.

Luis Silva scored in his third straight game, and Wednesday's four-goal outburst is the most Salt Lake has scored at home this season. Silva’s goal gave RSL an early 1-0 lead, and after Anibal Godoy was sent off in the 62nd minute the attack put three more in the back of the net.

“The message came across in the locker room that all these games are like playoffs for us," goalkeeper Nick Rimando said after the game. "We need to get as many points as we can. That starts with the clean sheet. We kept going and we got the goals that we needed.” 

Real Salt Lake have had their ups and downs this season, but the team's form is getting closer to what's needed for a playoff push.

“We have been so fluid going forward, tonight it fell to us and guys were lethal with their feet going to goal,” RSL head coach Mike Petke said.

A lot of that credit goes to Silva, who has been on a tear lately after taking his time to get accustomed to his role as RSL’s No. 9.

“He brings so much to this team,” Petke said. “It sounds weird to say that we’re not relying on him heavily to score because we know he’s not a natural goal scorer. But he’s in a position that we need to get goals and lately he’s been putting himself in great positions and linking up with other players.”

What got him in the lineup in the first place is now icing on the cake for RSL in its hunt for a playoff spot.

“He wasn’t scoring but Luis [Silva] gives us something other than scoring all the time,” Rimando said. “When you have him scoring goals now, we’re going to be dangerous. If [Silva] can continue to score goals and be a vital attacker up top for us we’re going to be dangerous.”

Four goals and a clean sheet can make a 3-1 loss to Montreal fade away, and the memories of three draws at home disappear. Confidence moving toward the playoffs may be the biggest piece of Wednesday’s win over San Jose.

“I believe in this team," said Petke. "They believe in themselves. When they’re confident and doing the things we ask of them and believing in it, anything is possible, especially in a league like MLS.

"We’re going to need another performance like this on Saturday night. Every game from now on is a playoff game for us. That started in Montreal. We weren’t able to go to 7 games unbeaten, but we put it behind us and start a new run.”

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