SANDY, Utah — They've opened the season with four wins in five matches and sit atop the Western Conference. And Jason Kreis is adamant that his Real Salt Lake must improve ahead of Saturday's match with Colorado (7 pm MT, watch LIVE online and on CW30).
Kreis was less than impressed with his team's performance in its 1-0 victory over Montreal at Rio Tinto Stadium on Wednesday and wants progress fast.
“I thought we got outcompeted in the first half on our field,” he said following the win. “I would hardly ever tell you that that happens here. It’s very foreign to me, and it won’t be acceptable.”
The RSL coach specifically mentioned his players not working to find the spacing in the midfield allowed by the opponent, something they had worked on in training sessions. As a result, his team often tried to force balls into players who were well marked, often resulting in turnovers, especially in the first half.
Kreis did acknowledge that his squad’s effort was much better in the second half, but the team was still left to hang on for dear life as the visiting Impact created a number of late chances, but couldn’t capitalize to grab an equalizer.
As for why RSL had been out-hustled by the visitors, none of the players could quite put their finger on it.
“I don’t know yet,” admitted defender Jámison Olave. “Maybe we were tired. I don’t know why we played so bad today.”
The excuse of exhaustion didn't factor either after RSL came off such a high in a dramatic late win in Portland last weekend.
“No, I don’t think so,” said Will Johnson after starting his first match of the season. “If anything, it would have been a positive thing to get back out there and enjoy playing some more.”
Whatever the reason for a lackluster display against the Impact, RSL say it's a one-off. Kreis and his players are instead looking forward to a quick turnaround as they welcome the Rapids to Rio Tinto Stadium in this season's first installment of the Rocky Mountain Cup.
“It’s just a good incentive for us to play better,” said defender Tony Beltran. “Personally, I’m happy that the next game’s in three days because I want to get out there and show that we’re a better team than we were on Wednesday.”