Real Salt Lake coach Jason Kreis stressed the need for his players to put a loss behind them after a marquee matchup with Sporting Kansas City went awry Saturday.
“We have to move on quickly,” Kreis said. “We’ve had a lot of good runs, and again tonight they battled really hard.”
But the 2-1 loss that brought an end to an 11-game unbeaten streak will have a very tangible impact on RSL as the team heads to New York this weekend: a back line already thin because of injury and an international call-up will be without regular starter Chris Wingert, who picked up two yellow cards to put Salt Lake a man down against Sporting.
Kreis, who took exception with an inexperienced referee calling a sold-out match between the league’s top two teams, said the card was undeserved.
“I just watched the replay because I wanted to come in [to the postgame press conference] with facts, not opinions, of what I saw or what I think I saw,” Kreis said immediately after Saturday’s loss. “It’s a poor decision, an extremely poor decision against us. [Wingert] barely touches the player and he falls down.”
Wingert would have missed the game against the Red Bulls regardless, due to yellow card accumulation after picking up a caution for a collision with Kei Kamara less than a minute into the match. But because he was shown a second card, Wingert will serve a one-game suspension and will be placed on caution for accumulation once again when he returns. The veteran defender would have to play three games without a card to earn a “good behavior” incentive and move two cautions away from suspension.
Wingert’s suspension leaves RSL with just two outside backs — Lovel Palmer and Abdoulie Mansally — available for Saturday’s match on the East Coast, as right back Tony Beltran remains with the U.S. national team for the remainder of Gold Cup play.
RSL at Red Bulls
P Saturday, 5 p.m.
TV • Ch. 4