SANDY, Utah — To say Real Salt Lake got off to a slow start in their loss to the LA Galaxy on Saturday night would be an understatement.
RSL found themselves down a goal less than six minutes into their Western Conference battle at Rio Tinto Stadium and when the Galaxy doubled their lead seven minutes later, the game was all but decided. That dismal start allowed the Galaxy to cruise to a 2-0 victory while leaving RSL thinking about what could have been had they come out of the gates sharper.
"Tonight, I felt my team wasn't ready to start," coach Jason Kreis said after the match. "The first 15 minutes we were in an absolute lull, and if you give two goals away to team that is as organized defensively as they are, you are going to be in for a difficult night."
It wasn't the first time RSL began a game slowly this season. The Claret and Cobalt also conceded in the opening minutes against the Colorado Rapids on April 6, and that goal proved costly as well as it paved the way for a 1-0 loss.
Kreis, however, insisted after the match that his team has sputtered in the early goings of other matches, just not as badly as they did against the Galaxy.
"The first 15 minutes wasn't the best and we paid for it with losing," said goalkeeper Nick Rimando.
RSL did respond positively after going down 2-0 and controlled things for long stretches. But everyone on the team knows that playing catch up after falling behind early is not what Real Salt Lake expects of themselves, especially at Rio Tinto Stadium.
"It's frustrating to lose at home, to start that way," said midfielder Ned Grabavoy. "At that point, we are just fighting uphill the whole time. To give up a first one is immature from a pretty mature group. We can't give away a second one because that pretty much locks things down for them."
So if slow starts are something the team and coach are aware of, how does Real Salt Lake alleviate the problem? They're not sure yet, but they know an answer needs to be found quickly.
"Maybe it is a tactical thing we hash out between us, or maybe we change a style of play for the first 15 minutes," said defender Tony Beltran. "But it needs to be better because that was where we lost the match."