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Panic not an option for suddenly struggling RSL

LEHI, Utah — Real Salt Lake players and coaches have talked a lot over the past month about getting key pieces back into place, and working themselves back to top playoff form.

That was the ideal, anyway. So far, neither has happened.

But defender Nat Borchers, who has been filling in as captain for his squad while Kyle Beckerman is away on US national team duty, feels it’s too early to judge.

“It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon,” Borchers said Tuesday. “You get your satisfaction over what happens at the end of the season – the season’s not over yet. It’s been a roller coaster so far, but this is a group that’s faced adversity before. We’ve come out on top.”

Whether the team will come out on top this time will depend largely on how they respond to the recent adversity of a four-game losing streak. They face their Rocky Mountain Cup rivals, the Colorado Rapids, on Friday (10:30 pm ET, ESPN2, ESPN Deportes) without Beckerman, who faces a two-game suspension and won’t play again until the postseason.

“I think everybody is looking at themselves in the mirror and saying, ‘What can I do to help the group?’” said Borchers. “And we’re going to get through this together.”

Having had to deal with more than a typical season’s worth of adversity may prove to be an advantage to the squad come playoff time, as they may find themselves experiencing things in the playoffs that they’ve already seen many times this season.

“If you just look at one area in particular – that being referees decisions against us – I can’t remember a year that’s been like this one,” head coach Jason Kreis said. “I can’t remember a year that we’ve faced so much adversity. We’ve literally been through every scenario possible. And hopefully we’ve learned from our failures and taken some from the few successes we’ve had in those instances as well.”

Either way, Borchers feels like there is no reason to have anything other than an optimistic outlook at this point.

“I don’t think there’s any other way to be,” he said. “I don’t think there’s any place for negativity in a club like this. We’re a positive group, and we’re realistic. We hold each other accountable. We push each other in training, and that’s what we’re going to have to do the next two weeks to really batten down the hatches and get the results.”