The highs have been followed all too quickly with lows.
A week after topping the Seattle Sounders earlier this year, Real Salt Lake let down its guard and let in an early goal in a loss to the Colorado Rapids. Last week, RSL played what coach Jason Kreis called arguably "our best performance of the season" in a home win over Chivas USA, only to follow it up with a dud Saturday.
Vancouver at Salt LakeSaturday, 7 p.m.
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"For me, it’s that we are finding our way a little bit," Kreis said after a 2-0 home loss to the Los Angeles Galaxy on Saturday. "Unfortunately, I felt that when we’ve had a good performance, we have had a drop-off immediately after. That comes from guys just feeling a little too comfortable with what they did and thinking that they have arrived a little bit."
Salt Lake had strung together positive performances in recent weeks — a road draw with Vancouver and the victory over Chivas USA — and was looking to continue to build on that momentum against the Galaxy. But once again, RSL took a step backward. Salt Lake came out flat against an L.A. team missing some of its biggest names — "an absolute lull," as Kreis characterized it — and gave up two goals in the game’s first 15 minutes.
The inconsistency has puzzled RSL’s veterans.
"I can’t really put my finger on it, because I think the group we put out tonight, it’s a pretty mature group," midfielder Ned Grabavoy said. "Guys who have played a lot of games, been in a lot of situations. It just seems that sometimes we don’t deal with a loss or we don’t deal with a win the way that we should."
RSL has yet to put together consecutive wins this season. If that is to change, Kreis said, it will come down to focus and attention to detail.
"I’m not making judgments of any individual player, but I think collectively that we have to really build ourselves more up for these games and recognize that in every single match that if we don’t put in everything that we have, we will get beat," he said. "We will get beat even by teams that are missing five starters."
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