Lehi — In a way, Real Salt Lake coach Jason Kreis is happy that Saturday's home game — and regular-season finale — against Portland is important.
As those who have followed the ongoing saga that has been RSL's season understand, a victory would mean the third seed in the Western Conference and a date with the Seattle Sounders in the MLS playoffs. A loss and a Dallas win would relegate Real to a wild card play-in game and a trip to the Eastern Conference.
(RSL holds the tie-break should it and Dallas finish with the equal number of points.)
"Last year, going into last game of season, it was almost a nothing game," Kreis said. "The Rocky Mountain Cup was at stake. It was an away game in Colorado and we play really really poorly.
"When we play that way we most of the time lose. We went into the playoffs with no confidence and no flow. I want this game to be extremely meaningful."
Despite having one of the best records in Major League Soccer in 2010, RSL, defending its 2009 title, was a playoff washout.
RSL, which has not won in its last five games, needed a minimum four points out of its last two games to claim third place. Real won a point last Friday at Colorado — and kept the Rocky Mountain Cup — with a 0-0 draw.
"[Then we take] three points at home and now guess what we're ready for? We're ready for the first round of the playoffs," Kreis said. "We've put our backs against the wall the last 2 matches ,which will hopefully prepare us for the playoffs."
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