Real Salt Lake not thinking about club-record unbeaten streak

RSL takes on L.A. Galaxy on Saturday at America First Field.

Everybody in Major League Soccer is talking about Real Salt Lake’s streak.

Everybody except RSL.

Riding a 15-game unbeaten streak, Pablo Mastroeni’s squad hasn’t tasted defeat since March 9.

Not that he’s reminding his first-place team of that fact.

“We don’t talk about the streak,” Mastroeni said after beating Sporting KC 4-3 on Wednesday.

“We don’t talk about that stuff,” goalkeeper Gavin Beavers added, echoing his coach. “I think we’re just going out there to do the same thing every game and have the same agenda.”

RSL’s is the longest single-season streak in club history and the second-longest in league history, matching undefeated runs by the Portland Timbers (2013, 2018) and the Colorado Rapids (2016).

“We expect to go out there and win and dominate. Throughout this last month and a half, we’ve had some games that haven’t gone our way to start out, but we’ve just ground it out,” Beavers said.”We’re all dogs. We’re going to hustle for each other. We’re a big family. We wall want the same thing.”

It’s actually the second time Mastroeni, the former Rapids boss, has been a part of such a streak. It’s a fact, however, he was unaware of until it was brought to his attention.

“I think I was the same way as a player,” he said. “There’s no time to really be excited about anything because the job isn’t done.”

The job right now: a win over Ricky Puig and the Galaxy when L.A. visits America First Field on Saturday.

“We’re just taking one game, one game by game, one game by day. I think it’s just whatever game we have coming up, we focus on that game,” RSL midfielder Diego Luna said. “We have our game plan. We go into that game with belief. We go into that game with the hard work, with the grit that we have.”

Salt Lake has gone 18 games unbeaten before, but over the course of two seasons in 2013 and 2014.

RSL now sits four games short of the all-time Major League Soccer record, the 19-game single-season unbeaten streak FC Dallas put together in 2010.

Not that Mastroeni is thinking about that now.

“The streak is not important for us as much as it is getting better every game,” he said. “But if you try to get better every game, and you look at yourself honestly and reflect I think you end up in situations like this.”

A slip-up

Before Beavers saved his first MLS penalty, the young goalkeeper made a rookie mistake.

Sporting KC striker Johnny Russell asked Beavers if he could have a drink from his water bottle just before Russell stepped up to take the penalty Wednesday.

Only after Beavers agreed did it hit him that RSL had put notes regarding each player’s penalty tendencies on the bottle itself.

“I said yes and I shouldn’t have said yes,” Beavers said afterward. “Because I realized all the PKs are sitting on the water bottle. But then I was like, I don’t think he’s going to switch it up. He’s gone the same direction 13 times. I think I’m just going to go with the same spot and he ended up hitting the same way.”

Beavers’ dive to his left saved the penalty and helped preserve RSL’s ultimate 4-3 victory.

Down a man

With center back Justen Glad (ankle) already questionable to play Saturday, RSL will be looking to plug a hole in its back line. Defender Brayan Vera will miss the game after picking up a yellow card in the 77th minute.

“Losing Vera obviously isn’t idea,” Mastroeni said, “especially with Glad and Marcelo Silva and [Erik Holt] out. But … we don’t talk about players not being available. We talk about the next guy stepping up and having the right mindset to come in and contribute.”