Real Salt Lake capped off a solid homestand in successful
fashion. To continue its recent strong play, it will have to find a
way to break through on the road against one of the best defenses
Salt Lake looks to end a four-game road winless streak Wednesday
night against the New England Revolution, whom it has dominated
over the past five years.
RSL’s only victory away from home was a 2-0 win over San Jose in
its season opener March 3. The club has been shut out three times
in four road contests since.
Salt Lake (4-4-2), though, posted its second win in three home
games with a 2-0 victory over Vancouver on Saturday. Joao Plata
assisted on both goals, pushing his season total to four to tie for
the league lead.
“I felt like we got better and better and better as the game
went on and I have to feel good about it,” coach Jason Kreis said.
“That’s what we want. We want a team that is capable of improving
during a match and calm enough to do so.”
New England (2-3-3) is tied for last in the league with four
goals, though three came in two matches prior to a scoreless draw
at Portland on Thursday.
While the Revolution continue to sputter offensively, their
defense is keeping them competitive. They’ve yielded a
conference-low six goals and recorded their fifth shutout and third
in four games Thursday.
Eight players have made starts on the back line in front of
goalkeepers Matt Reis and Bobby Shuttleworth.
“We all kept our lines, kept our shape and we were able to keep
a clean sheet,” Shuttleworth told the team’s official website after
the Portland game. “I think it shows the depth we have on this
team. (Coach) Jay (Heaps) has done a great job of creating
competition and creating depth. You can see guys are coming in and
doing really well, we aren’t missing a beat.”
Shuttleworth has posted three of his team’s shutouts.
The sturdy back line should be tested by a Salt Lake club that
leads the league in shots on goal with 49. However, Salt Lake is
banged up at forward as Alvaro Saborio will miss his third straight
game and Robbie Findley and Olmes Garcia are questionable.
Salt Lake’s defense received a boost against the Whitecaps with
the season debut of veteran Chris Wingert, who had been out with a
fracture in his right foot.
“I was really pleased to have him out there,” Kreis said. “He’s
a steady influence on the rest of the group, and was in some really
RSL has gone 4-0-1 in the last five meetings with New England
and 6-1-2 in the series since the start of the 2008 season. Saborio
scored both Salt Lake goals in a 2-1 victory last May 5 in the only
meeting of 2012.