SANDY, Utah – Real Salt Lake are facing the rival Colorado Rapids on Saturday (8 pm MT, watch LIVE online), their second Rocky Mountain Cup showdown of the season after RSL opened the series with a 2-0 win on April 7.
Right now, however, there’s another game on the Claret-and-Cobalt’s mind: the 5-0 thrashing they took against the San Jose Earthquakes last Saturday.
"I don't know if I have ever lost a game 5-0,” defender Chris Wingert said. “At least not professionally.”
Forget Wingert’s history; the loss was of historic proportions for the club itself. It’s the worst result that RSL have suffered since Jason Kreis took over in 2007, and only the fourth time in their history that they’ve conceded at least five goals in a game.
So what happened?
"A lot of things went wrong," Wingert said. "We weren't organized. We weren't passing the ball well. We went down a man. They exposed us at the back. We didn't do well at set pieces. We didn't win second balls. … [We need to] take it as one loss. Lose 1-0 or 5-0, it counts the same in the standings. We are still in second place [in the Western Conference] and need to push forward."
Regular backline starters Nat Borchers and Tony Beltran did not feature in the loss due to injury, but Jámison Olave started in his usual role. He’s come to a similar conclusion as Wingert.
“We know it was a bad score; 5-0 that is pretty bad for Real Salt Lake,” Olave said. “It's never happened since I've been here.”
And with a rivalry game on the way, Olave’s remedy is as simple as it is eloquent: “working.”
"Working every training hard,” Olave said. “Talking a lot, every game, every training and moving forward. We can't stay there. That 5-0 is far away now."
The absence of two starters and a 57th-minute red card to captain Kyle Beckerman certainly contributed to the drubbing. But even before the red card and the pouring on, Real found themselves down a goal early.
"I think we started out flat," head coach Jason Kreis said. "I'm not sure exactly why. I think it just happens sometimes. Everybody says they're focused, everybody looks like they're focused, everybody looks like they're ready to go, saying they're ready to go and they step out on the field and for one reason or another they just aren't. We need to let it go a little bit."
More than anything, however, RSL need to make sure that they don’t find themselves on the other side of a scoreline like that again.
"We need to be humble and say we're not as good, perhaps, as we thought we were," Kreis said. "We've got to get back to who we are and appreciating our qualities, one of which is we think we are one of the hardest working teams around. That's what brings us success. When we are not one of the hardest working teams around, we typically fail."
RSL to welcome French trialist
A Real Salt Lake team spokesman confirmed that attacking midfielder Maxime Partouche is set to begin a trial with the team. The 22-year-old currently plays for US Creteil-Lusitanos, a club based in the Paris suburbs, and has featured for the French U-16 and U-19 national team. He began his professional career in the Paris Saint-Germain youth system.