It is crunch time for Real Salt Lake as it approaches the final six matches of the season with a slim margin for error.
That has upped the intensity in RSL’s locker room as the team gears up for the home stretch, according to defender Aaron Maund, who made a guest appearance on The Bill & OC Show on ESPN 700 on Thursday
“We’re focused on finishing strong. We’re still in position where we can make the playoffs. We have that in mind. We’re in a good spot in the Champions League,” said Maund, who has a career-high 16 games played and 1,434 minutes this season. “We’re taking it one game at a time and really trying to make that final push to get that spot.”
Real Salt Lake is in eight place in the Western Conference at 9-11-8 (35 points) and while the Claret-and-Cobalt is still six points out of the sixth and final playoff spot, it is also just seven points behind the fourth-place Seattle Sounders.
In the locker room, the players know how precarious that position is, but also what needs to be done to get into the postseason for the eighth consecutive season.
“It gets a little bit more intense. Everyone knows what’s on the line and I think people are trying to practice accordingly,” Maund said. “The intensity level is a little bit higher and I think that’s a good thing. Competitiveness is going up and it’s a good time to have that.”
This weekend, RSL hosts the LA Galaxy in the first home match since a 2-0 pasting of the Sounders on August 22. With a 6-2-6 record at Rio Tinto Stadium in league play and 9-2-6 home record in all competitions, RSL has a lot of confidence on home turf. That includes a 1-0 win over the Galaxy in Opne Cup play in July, Maund scoring the game-winner in the 87th minute to send RSL through. However, the team is aware of the challenge on Saturday against a star-studded Galaxy team.
“They have a lot of firepower up top and they’re pretty solid throughout their whole team,” Maund said. “They’re a team that’s playing really well right now. We have to give a good defensive effort and finish our chances. We’re at home, so we’re going to try to take it to them, for sure, and force the issue.”
Kickoff on Saturday is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. MT. To hear the full interview with Maund, click here.