Seattle • There’s no time to dwell on that serious reminder.
Losing 4-0 to a Western Conference rival on the road — despite being undermanned and perhaps derailed by crucial calls Saturday in Seattle — could serve as a turning point for Real Salt Lake. Believe it or not, RSL (6-1-6) has a more difficult road ahead of itself, even in the wake of its first loss of 2014.
Real Salt Lake at Columbus CrewWednesday,5:30 p.m.
TV » CW30
On Sunday, RSL boarded a plane not back to Salt Lake International Airport, but toward the Buckeye State. Now five points behind the league-leading Sounders, RSL’s first three-game-in-a-week trek goes to Columbus to take on the 4-5-4 Crew.
"Quick turnaround, which is great," said goalkeeper Jeff Attinella. "Not a lot of time to think about [the Seattle loss]. We knew this was going to be a tough stretch. Whether we lost 1-0 or 4-0, it really didn’t matter. We knew we were going to have to get a result in one of these next two games."
Against somewhat of a two-faced Columbus side on the road, who knows what side of the Crew RSL might see Wednesday evening at Crew Stadium. To be fair, the question remains: Which RSL side will show up three days after being railroaded at CenturyLink Field?
Three starting-XI staples aren’t returning anytime soon.
Kyle Beckerman and Nick Rimando are off prepping for the World Cup, which starts in 11 days. Alvaro Saborio is out 3 to 4 months with a broken fifth metatarsal on his right foot. And most important of all: Someone needs to find a way to create dangerous chances on the heels of being shut out in its last two outings. Especially with a match upcoming so swiftly and another against Portland on Saturday.
"It’s good that we’re playing Wednesday," said defender Tony Beltran, "because I think that this is a mature group, and we’re ready to rebound from this game already. The mood in the locker room is we want to get back out there because we know we’re better than that."
The turnaround to prove its mettle is a flash.
"We’re obviously thin," said midfielder Ned Grabavoy. "Our depth is going to be tested even more so Wednesday night, so we knew these three games before this [World Cup] break were going to be difficult. There’s going to be a lot of guys probably called on Wednesday that need to step up."
Could be Carlos Salcedo. Could be Rich Balchan. Could be Robbie Findley. Could be Joao Plata. Any number of players might earn the nod against the Crew Wednesday ahead of RSL’s home match with rival Portland on Saturday night at Rio Tinto Stadium. Plata missed the Seattle match with his lingering left hamstring injury, aggravated once more against FC Dallas on May 24, but might be available. Chris Schuler, held out of the lineup against the Sounders to avoid the turf, could return.
It’s a series of question marks. And RSL knows it has its hands full once more on the road.
"Every team in this league is good at home," defender Nat Borchers said.
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