Real Salt Lake has been no stranger to difficult road stretches this season. Already having endured a five-game road stretch in May and June while the field at Rio Tinto Stadium was replaced, RSL is now set to embark on a stretch that will have the Claret-and-Cobalt play three of the next four matches on the road as the club looks to regain its footing and break out of a six-match winless funk.
That string of matches starts on Sunday against the Philadelphia Union at Talen Energy Stadium to open a two-match road trip that will continue on Wednesday against Toronto FC at BMO Field. And while RSL’s 3-6-2 road record this season is still among the best in MLS, facing Philadelphia and Toronto, who sit third and fifth in the East respectively, is no small task. As it has been of late, RSL will focus internally to solve the conundrum that has kept the club out of the win column since June 22.
“Right now, we just need to concentrate on ourselves. If we start thinking about the points that we can or can’t get, a lot of that’s out of our hands. What’s in our hands is Philly on Sunday,” Real Salt Lake Head Coach Jeff Cassar said on the O’Connell and Swinney Show on ESPN 700. “I have the full confidence in our team and myself and the staff that we’re going to have a very good road trip. Can we go to Philly and Toronto and get three points out of both places? Absolutely. And that will be the main goal.”
RSL has earned four straight draws at Rio Tinto Stadium, moving the season record to 5-0-5 at home. In those four matches, the club has scored just three goals, but still managed 60 shots – nearly four per game above the season average – while holding 60% of possession. Even the 5.25 shots on goal per game in that stretch is above the season average.
“We’ve had some letdowns, but overall I’m extremely pleased with how we’re playing. We’re playing attractive soccer. We’re playing aggressive soccer. We’re stamping our authority at home. The goal is just really small for us right now. With that being said, I have the full confidence in our players,” Cassar said. “It’s not through lack of effort. It’s coming down to quality of final passes and that little bit of lack of concentration at the ends of games or other stages within the game.”
With a united front, RSL will look to bounce back into the win column Sunday against the Union, a team that has been near the top of the Eastern Conference all season, but has posted an 0-4-3 record against Western Conference opponents this season and is just 1-3-1 in the last five matches.
“We’re in this together. Our locker room is strong,” Cassar said. “Now we can go on the road, concentrate on playing good, defensive soccer and putting ourselves in position to score and trying to capitalize on those opportunities.”
To hear the full interview, click here.