Call it three games in eight days. Call it a six-hour international flight and game midweek. Call it a hangover. Call it whatever you’d like, but call it like it really was:
Real Salt Lake were gassed in their 1-0 loss to Colorado on Saturday night at Dick's Sporting Goods Park.
"You just do what you can," head coach Jason Kreis said of fatigue setting in. "You talk to the players. You can see that a few guys needed a rest. We’ve just got to be mindful of that as we go through the last part of the season.
“We’ve had some experience before where we’ve worn our guys out, so to speak, and then we get to the playoffs and we don’t have enough energy to do what it takes."
For the first 10 minutes on Saturday, RSL looked their normal selves, knocking the ball around with long stretches of possession. After that opening run, however, there was almost nothing on the field for the Claret-and-Cobalt that looked like a team that could have moved to the top of the MLS table with a win over their rivals.
RSL had a brutal stretch over the past week. After last Friday’s 2-1 home win over Vancouver, they then boarded a plane for Costa Rica for a CONCACAF Champions League game that ended in a 1-0 loss to Herediano. With two days and two training sessions back home, Real then traveled to Colorado and turned in a lackluster performance.
So did the loss in Costa Rica actually cost RSL a second game as well?
"I don’t think it should," defender Tony Beltran told reporters. "We’re all professionals. We’re doing a good job of taking care of our bodies, so maybe something to it, but still it shouldn’t affect us out there."
There isn't too much time for rest as Real have a week at home to rest their weary legs before traveling to face Vancouver on Aug. 11.
HIGHLIGHTS: Colorado 1, Real Salt Lake 0