SANDY, Utah – After high-profile victories against the LA Galaxy and New York Red Bulls, Real Salt Lake are determined not to fade even if the spotlights have. So this Saturday they are very focused on one thing: getting a result against Chivas USA (7 pm MT, watch LIVE online).
“I think each week, regardless of what happens the week before, presents a new challenge and a new situation,” midfielder Ned Grabavoy said after training on Friday. “And I think that we have a great opportunity to start the season 3-0, and hopefully be at the top of the table still. So I think that’s a challenge in itself and we should be up for it.”
The Goats are a familiar foe for RSL. Chivas head coach Robin Fraser was Jason Kreis’ assistant for several years, and starting center back Rauwshan McKenzie spent the last two seasons in Utah. The two are central to the ongoing rebuilding process for a club that came into the league with Salt Lake in 2005, but hasn’t experienced a similar level of success.
Nonetheless, RSL aren’t going to take them lightly.
“You could look at it and say they’re 0-2, but I think that they’re a better team than their record,” Grabavoy said. “I think that they’ve lacked a little bit of production up front. They’ve had a few injuries to some of their forwards at the beginning of the year here. But I think that they’re a team that’s going to work hard and be organized obviously and teams like that are always dangerous, especially when they go on the road.”
For his part, Kreis is keeping his attention inward.
“[We’re] just very focused on ourselves and not really concerned about the opponents,” the Salt Lake boss said. “I don’t really think the opponents need to determine how excited we are to play in front of our home fans in the stadium for the second game of the year. It’s all about us, and our fans, and the atmosphere they can provide for us and the game that we can provide for them.”
That atmosphere was explosive in last week’s 2-0 win over New York, and it’s a symbiotic relationship. When the team plays better, the crowd gets louder. When the crowd gets louder, the adrenaline goes up for the guys on the field.
“So tomorrow night, it’s all about the performance again,” Kreis offered. “It’s all about every small thing that goes into getting results. It’s about focus, and concentration and commitment. And that’s just not going to change.”