Soccer: RSL looking for improvement on the road
Major League Soccer • Team hopes to carry momentum from win over Vancouver.
Published: May 5, 2013 05:56PM
Updated: December 7, 2013 11:31PM
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Kim Raff | The Salt Lake Tribune (left) Real Salt Lake midfielder Javier Morales (11) talks to (right) Real Salt Lake midfielder Kyle Beckerman (5) and other teammates after a second goal was scored by the Los Angeles Galaxy in the first 13 minutes of the game at Rio Tinto in Sandy on April 27, 2013. Real Salt Lake lost the game 2-0.

They play good soccer at home but struggle on the road, where goals have been scarce and defensive lapses all too frequent.

Sound familiar?

We’re talking, of course, about the Vancouver Whitecaps.

And if Real Salt Lake needs a model of what not to do on its upcoming trip, it need look no further than its most recent opponent.

“There’s just too big a gap from what our performance is like at home and what our performance is like on the road,” a frustrated Vancouver coach Martin Rennie said after Saturday’s 2-0 defeat at Rio Tinto Stadium. “Players who do very well at home are really letting us down away from home. And I think I can’t quite put my finger on why, but they really need to look at themselves and ask are they giving enough to the club.”

With the loss, Vancouver fell to 0-4-1 on the road in MLS play this year.

RSL, which earned an opening-night road victory at San Jose and played to a 1-1 draw with the Whitecaps last month in Canada, has fared better on the road but only slightly so. RSL is 1-3-1 and has been shut out three times away from Rio Tinto Stadium.

With road games this week at New England on Wednesday and at Montreal on Saturday, RSL players said they needed a victory for confidence.

“It’s our home,” said midfielder Luis Gil, whose 47th-minute header proved the game-winner. “We’ve got to make a statement while we’re here, and then we’ve got to take care of business on the road.”

Salt Lake coach Jason Kreis had called the matchup with Vancouver a “critical” test of his team’s desire after a dismal home defeat to rival Los Angeles a week earlier. Kreis was pleased with his team’s response but said another big test looms this week.

“I think we take a lot [from this game],” he said. “I want us to be miserable when we lose, and we should be happy when we win. We should feel good about it — not too good about it — but we should feel good about it, at least for overnight. We wake up tomorrow and we focus on the next game. For me, it was very good, but we need to build off of it. There’s still room for improvement, and we’re going to need improvement if we’re going to get results in the next two matches on the road.”

afalk@sltrib.comTwitter: @aaronfalk

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