SANDY, Utah — After six games, Real Salt Lake sit at 2-3-1 with seven points and are on the wrong half of the Western Conference standings. That marks only the second time they've started this slow over the past five seasons.
But it's far from gloom and doom with they prepare to face the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday in Canada — their fifth road game on the young season.
"I think we identified before the season started this was going to be a very, very difficult beginning of the season, the most difficult that I can remember," head coach Jason Kreis told reporters after training on Tuesday. "I don't know that we've ever gone through our first seven games with five away. It's been difficult, no doubt about it. I still think there's more, though. I don't want to make that as any type of excuse. I think there were points that we left on the table through the first six games, but it is what it is. I think we just have to be focused on being better in our next one."
The players aren't using the fact they have been away from the friendly confines of Rio Tinto Stadium as an excuse either.
"There are a lot of things, a lot of variables you have to think of," defender Tony Beltran told reporters. "Life is difficult when you're on the road. But still, the fact is, this is our job. Whether it is at home or away, we need to get results, we need to get points. It can be good enough. It should be good enough, but it wasn't."
Added goalkeeper Nick Rimando: "I think we are doing OK. I think we are doing enough, but it could be better and the results could be better. On the road, you try to get as many results as you can, but it is a tough start for us to be on the road so many games. But we are dealing with it and I think we are doing OK."
Another reason for the less-than-ideal start may be the fact Real are working in quite a few new faces. With injuries, national team duties and offseason departures, the team is still working on chemistry. But again, the players don't want to use that as an excuse either.
"I think the new guys have done a really good job whether it is out on the training field or when they've seen minutes with the first team," said Beltran. "I think the level this year has been very good overall. I think the locker room is very positive, a good atmosphere. Credit to the new guys. I think they've done very well."
Pointed out Rimando: "We are losing games by one goal. We are getting the chances, so if we just put these chances away we are tying or winning these games."