Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Real Salt Lake players celebrate a goal by forward Fabian Espindola, second from right, of Argentina, as Chivas USA goalkeeper Dan Kennedy, left, returns the ball for play during the first half of an MLS soccer match in Carson, Calif., Saturday, June 16, 2012. Real Salt Lake players are, from left, midfielder Will Johnson; forward Alvaro Saborio, of Costa Rica; Espindola; and midfielder Ned Grabavoy (20). (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)
After road win, RSL looks poised to control race for MLS title
Front-runner » At halfway mark, team tops league standings.
First Published Jun 17 2012 10:45 am • Last Updated Jun 18 2012 10:39 am

By winning at one of its most familiar venues to restart its season, Real Salt Lake has put itself in a most unfamiliar position:


At a glance

Home sweet home

RSL plays six of its next eight games at home:

» Wednesday, Los Angeles, 7 p.m.

» Saturday, San Jose,7 p.m.

» June 30, at Columbus, 6 p.m.

» July 4, Seattle, 8 p.m.

» July 7, Portland, 7 p.m.

» July 14, at San Jose, 8:30 p.m.

» July 21, Colorado, 8 p.m.

» July 27, Vancouver,7 p.m.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

With its season hitting the halfway mark next weekend, the team is in control of the Major League Soccer regular-season title chase like never before. It’s atop the league standings with 32 points and the league’s best goal differential, following its dominating 3-0 victory over Chivas USA at the Home Depot Center on Saturday.

"We were beaten by a better team," the Goats’ Ryan Smith said.

With two games in hand, Sporting KC can conceivably pull even with RSL.

But RSL also is two points clear of Eastern Conference leader D.C. United with a game in hand, and six of its next eight at Rio Tinto Stadium.

For the first time in its history, it’s in position to be the team that goes down the stretch as the one that others are chasing — rather than one trying to catch up.

Even during its best regular season, in 2010, RSL was stuck futilely trying to catch the Los Angeles Galaxy.

"I’m really pleased that the guys showed they’re happy to be back together and chomping at the bit for another difficult segment of our season," coach Jason Kreis said.

The victory at Chivas commenced another three-games-in-eight-days stretch for RSL, its fourth of the season.

story continues below
story continues below

But it has negotiated that challenge well so far, going 6-1-2 in that situation, and can further cement its top-of-the-table standing if it can beat the last-place Galaxy on Wednesday and title challenger San Jose on Saturday — both at home, where it has lost only once this season.

"It’s a great start to a three-game week," midfielder Kyle Beckerman said after beating Chivas. "But it’s a quick turnaround. We have to put this in the past quickly and get ready for Wednesday."

Still, the team is well rested after playing just one league game in the previous five weeks, and almost everybody is healthy.

While reserve midfielder Luis Gil and reserve defender Chris Schuler remain sidelined — Gil has strained knee ligaments, and Schuler is recovering from a stress reaction in his foot — star midfielder Javier Morales played 30 minutes against Chivas in an encouraging return from a quadriceps injury.

If he can stay in the lineup, RSL becomes exponentially more dangerous — another reason it figures to be the team to beat in the second half.

"Of course he’s not 100 percent fit right now," Kreis said, "and certainly not going to be at the top of his game. But I think as we go forward, he has shown us over the last week in training and in some moments [against Chivas] that he’s definitely still got it, and we’re big believers in him."


Twitter: @MCLTribune

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.