Real Salt Lake: RSL returns home again in search of big goal
Back here again.
At the most critical conjuncture of the season, Real Salt Lake prepares for the second leg of the Western Conference semifinals against the L.A. Galaxy needing a goal to equalize and keep the 2013 campaign afloat.
RSL returns to Rio Tinto Stadium on Thursday down a goal, playing the second round of a two-match series in front of home fans, and having possibly worked their wiggles out Sunday night in Carson, Calif., in the 1-0 loss. It sounds ideal.
But the club has history with needing a result in the most dire scenarios at home, no less and coming up short.
"We've been in situations like this before," said defender Nat Borchers. "We definitely haven't gotten the results when we needed to in big games, so I think the onus is on us to come out, be aggressive, play our game at home, get that first goal and everything's going to fall in place from there."
In terms of most recent anguish at home, RSL fell to the worst team in the MLS, D.C. United, 1-0 in the 2013 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup title match on Oct. 1. All it needed was a goal in 2011 when Mexican club Monterrey came to Sandy in the second leg of the CONCACAF Champions League final, but the big goal, as it has so often, eluded it in the loss.
After struggling to find any sort of offensive footing in the first leg Sunday night at the StubHub Center, RSL is confident, and perhaps rightly so.
Real coach Jason Kreis said the team should feel fortunate considering the Galaxy squandered so many chances, leaving the door open for RSL to make things interesting Thursday night.
"Players need to play better," Kreis said. "That's it. The passes are there, you could see that the options were there, we're just missing simple passes. Some of our most important players need to play better, and they will."
Midfielder Javier Morales said the pressure of returning home needing at least a 1-0 result after 90 minutes should not faze RSL, but added that the team needs to be much more fluid offensively to limit a Galaxy side that will plan on counterattacking again.
"We have to change it," Morales said. "We have to create more options. If you don't have options to play, it's tough. We have to figure it out."
RSL vs. L.A. Galaxy
P Thursday, 7 p.m.
TV • ESPN2