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Back on the road, RSL takes another shot at busting slump

Published June 12, 2009 6:21 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2009, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Real Salt Lake seems to have tried everything to shake out of its seven-game winless slump. Different formations, different lineups. Even a hike, instead of practice, a couple of weeks ago.

Maybe a new airplane will do the trick.

Having unveiled a plane in the JetBlue Airways fleet painted with team colors and logos, the team used it to travel here for its game tonight against the surging Los Angeles Galaxy, when it will try again for its first road victory of the season without suspended defender Robbie Russell and injured striker Robbie Findley.

Of course, the team is focusing more on defense.

"Right now, we don't know why we're not winning and why we're not scoring the goals," midfielder Kyle Beckerman said. "So really, right now, the main thing is let's concentrate on defense and not giving up goals. We all want to get this little slump out of our system. If defense is going to help us do that, then we're ready to do it and everybody is on board."

Both Beckerman and fellow midfielder Javier Morales are expected to return after missing a game to serve suspensions, but leading scorer Findley is questionable with a sprained ankle. And Russell's absence could somewhat mitigate the absence of the Galaxy's Landon Donovan, who's away playing for the national team at the Confederations Cup in South Africa.

But RSL is hoping to build on the good things it did last week against Colorado, despite allowing an 88th-minute equalizer at home.

"The easy thing and the immediate reaction was to be very disappointed, and a lot of the players were pretty vocally disappointed with making a mistake at the end of the game," coach Jason Kreis said. "But they did so many things right that it's a difficult and dangerous thing to walk away from that game and think about only the last play, the last critical play. There's too much good to take out of it, too much positive, and too much of the season left for us to be hanging our heads right now."

The Galaxy are riding a 10-game unbeaten streak, and coming off a victory at Toronto last week that snapped a stretch of five straight draws.

Speaking of which, they have played four straight 2-2 draws against RSL, including one barely a month ago in which they scored twice in extra time at Rio Tinto Stadium -- once on a penalty kick by Donovan and again on a low-angled shot by striker Mike Magee.

"You think about those things when you play teams again," defender Nat Borchers said. "You want to get a second chance to get three points."

RSL is assured of getting a second chance. Whether a victory will follow is anybody's guess.

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RSL at Los Angeles

At the Home Depot Center, Carson, Calif.

Kickoff » Today, 8:30 p.m. MDT

TV » KUTV 2.2 Digital/Comcast 111

Radio » AM-700, AM-1600

Records » RSL 3-6-3; Los Angeles 2-1-9

Series » Los Angeles leads 5-4-5

Last meeting » RSL 2, Los Angeles 2 (May 6, 2009)

About RSL » Riding a seven-game winless streak, it's aiming for its first road victory of the season. ... It has played four consecutive 2-2 draws with the Galaxy, including one in which it allowed two goals after the 90th minute at home last month. ... Former Galaxy striker Robbie Findley is out with an ankle injury, and defender Robbie Russell is out with a red-card suspension.

About the Galaxy » Riding a 10-game unbeaten streak, they're coming off a win at Toronto. ... Striker Landon Donovan has six goals and four assists, but won't play, since he's away with the U.S. national team.

RSL at Los Angeles

At the Home Depot Center, Carson, Calif.

Kickoff » Today, 8:30 p.m. MDT

TV » KUTV 2.2 Digital/Comcast 111

Radio » AM-700, AM-1600