Nat Borchers
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Putting RSL's 0-3-0 2012 record v. SJ in historical context

SANDY, Utah - Nat Borchers may have missed 10-man RSL’s 5-0 loss at league-leading San Jose on Saturday night due to a niggling quad injury, but that didn’t stop the veteran center back from speaking out about the game on ESPN700 AM on Monday.

Borchers pulled no punches when asked about San Jose’s three-game regular season sweep of RSL this year, telling “The Bill and Hans Show” that the Claret-and-Cobalt despise losing to the ‘Quakes.

“I think if anything it pisses us off,” Borchers said of the loss. “We hate losing and we hate losing to them for sure.”

Saturday’s loss means that RSL finishes this year’s regular season set against San Jose with a 0-3-0 record. It’s just the second time in franchise history that RSL has been swept in the regular season; the Utah side also went 0-3-0 against Chivas USA in 2007.

While they won’t face league-leading San Jose again in the regular season, second-place Real Salt Lake could very well have a shot at the ‘Quakes in the playoffs. Borchers hinted at that possibility in his radio interview on Monday, which got those of us in the RSL Communications department thinking: How have teams that were swept by another team in the regular season fared against said team in the playoffs?

Unsurprisingly, the sides that were swept haven’t done very well in the playoffs against their regular season tormentors. As the below table shows, of the 11 teams that met an opponent that swept them in the regular season in the playoffs, only three – the 1997 Colorado Rapids, the 1998 Chicago Fire and 2010 FC Dallas – beat their regular season bullies in the postseason.

All-Time Results: Regular season sweeps followed by playoff matchups

Year Regular season Playoffs
1996 Los Angeles (W1) goes 4-0-0 v. San Jose (W4) Los Angeles beats San Jose in first round
1997 Kansas City (W1) goes 4-0-0 v. Colorado (W4) Colorado sweeps Kansas City in first round
  D.C. (E1) goes 4-0-0 v. New England (E4) D.C. sweeps New England in first round
1998 D.C. (E1) goes 2-0-0 v. Chicago (W2) Chicago beats D.C. in MLS Cup Final
1999 D.C. (E1) goes 4-0-0 v. Miami (E4) D.C. sweeps Miami in first round
  D.C. (E1) goes 4-0-0 v. Columbus (E2) D.C. beats Columbus in three games in Eastern Conference Finals
2000 New York (3 seed) goes 2-0-0 v. Dallas (6 seed) New York sweeps Dallas in first round
2001 San Jose (5 seed) goes 2-0-0 v. Los Angeles (3 seed) San Jose beats Los Angeles in MLS Cup Final
2008 Chicago (E2) goes 3-0-0 v. New England (E3) Chicago beats New England in first round
2010 Los Angeles (W1) goes 2-0-0 v. Seattle (W4) Los Angeles beats Seattle in first round
  Los Angeles (W1) goes 2-0-0 v. Dallas (W3) Dallas beats Los Angeles in Western Conference Final

Of course, the above table doesn’t necessarily mean anything to RSL. Every team, every year and every situation are different and, unlike some of the above squads, RSL wouldn’t be overmatched by their regular season foil should they meet them in the playoffs.

The Claret-and-Cobalt are more than capable of beating the ‘Quakes come late fall. Whether or not they actually get that chance is out of their control, but you can bet that Borchers and his teammates are already dreaming of a postseason shot at Chris Wondolowski, Steven Lenhart and San Jose.