Throughout the opening weeks of the season, Real Salt Lake Technical Director Craig Waibel has preached patience when it comes to the start of what amounts to a new era for RSL. With some roster shuffling and some new wrinkles to the club’s approach on the field, Waibel knew it would take time for things to fall into place, particularly after the club was stricken with injuries to key players.
Now, 10 games into the season, much of that patience is paying off with results as RSL is in the middle of three-match unbeaten streak and sits just two points out of third place in the Western Conference at 3-2-5 (14 points). One key to keeping things on an even keel in the Real Salt Lake locker room has been a focus on the 34 games of the regular season rather than the current position in the standings.
“It’s always a big picture. I mean, that’s why there hasn’t been a panic button hit. We’re constantly evaluating and reevaluating,” Waibel said on The Bill & OC Show on ESPN 700 on Monday. “In the wrong context, it can influence your decision-making. But I think we’ve done a good job of holding steady. Jeff’s done a really good job of controlling the message and the players have done a great job of turning a bit of a corner here in the last seven or eight days.”
Waibel admits that the standings are a point of conversation in the locker room, but not to the point that they drive the team’s mentality from week to week. Knowing the length of the season and the ebbs and flows of a season, a veteran RSL team has been able to keep the right context when looking at the standings after each match.
“As soon as the first game’s played we’re all looking at the standings. We’re no different than the fans. The guys are the same way, they get on there and look every week. They know exactly where we’re at,” he said. “It is kind of odd with the length of our season and the amount of games we have left to play that we focus on it. But at the same time, it is the measuring stick.”
For the complete interview, including injury reports on Javier Morales, Sebastian Jaime and Joao Plata, click here.