LEHI, Utah – For Real Salt Lake, their match against the LA Galaxy on Saturday (9 pm, Direct Kick, MatchDay Live) represents a chance to get an early jump on an opponent they just couldn’t catch in the race for the Supporters’ Shield in 2010.
“Last year, we weren't able to catch them,” RSL midfielder Kyle Beckerman said, “so this will be the first time to really get above them.”
RSL and the Galaxy have been in contention with one another frequently over the last couple of seasons. In 2009, Salt Lake got the best of the Galaxy in the MLS Cup final, but it was the Galaxy who finished on top of RSL last season in the race for the Shield.
[inline_node:331583]Real Salt Lake enter the match with the confidence of having pulled a tough result last weekend at San Jose, where they defeated the Quakes 1-0 in terrible weather conditions. The match, despite being played in pouring rain, served RSL as a rhythm-builder, and coach Jason Kreis says his team is playing some quality soccer.
“I’m a little surprised at how well we’re playing,” Kreis said. “I think that we’ve established a level of what we can expect defensively over the past several years, but I’m a little surprised we’re playing so well with the ball and how many chances we’re creating and how fluidly our possessions seem to be.”
RSL and the Galaxy are both expected to be contenders for the Supporters’ Shield and the MLS Cup this year. However, Kreis feels like it’s too early to be worrying about winning any trophies just yet.
“We like to collect ‘firsts’ in our club, and [winning the Shield] would be a first for us, so it’s something that certainly as the season goes along we’ll put more and more emphasis on," the RSL boss said. “But this early in the season I think it would be foolish to talk about that or talk about MLS Cup, because there’s so many things that can go wrong or go right between now and then.”
Kreis, who received a contract extension from the club on Thursday, wants his team to not focus on the results but rather on playing consistently.
“I try to get the group to not be so results-focused,” Kreis said. “I do know that it’s our jobs, and at the end we get judged by results, but when we do that I think we typically look ahead of ourselves a little bit and forget about all the details that need to go into getting those results.
“So if I can get our group to focus on just doing the things that are needed to make us successful and to be at our best, then I know that the results will come.”
Kreis will be looking for his team to focus on all the details this Saturday as the Galaxy visit Rio Tinto Stadium, a place where no opposing team has managed to find victory in the last 35 attempts.
“We feel like we're playing some good soccer,” Beckerman said, “and when we're playing our best, we don't feel like anybody can beat us.”
Real Salt Lake sign Chinn
RSL have confirmed to MLSsoccer.com they have signed forward Conor Chinn, who has been on trial with the team after being released earlier this season by New York Red Bulls. The 23-year-old is in his second year in the league and saw action in five matches with the Red Bulls last season.
“New city, new start! Let’s go, RSL!” Chinn posted on Twitter.