Red Bulls-Real Salt Lake Preview
Real Salt Lake has lost back-to-back MLS matches for the first
time in more than a year, and suddenly there’s a feeling of
The New York Red Bulls have just one win in their last nine
league games, but they’re playing with a sense of optimism.
Salt Lake tries to avoid losing three straight for the first
time in four years Saturday night in its first meeting of the
season with a Red Bulls team coming off an impressive showing in a
prestigious overseas tournament.
After falling to Columbus 2-0 last Saturday, RSL (9-5-6) lost by
the same score to Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday to drop
back-to-back league games for the first time since April 2010, a
span of 44 matches.
There weren’t many positives in either performance for a team
that hadn’t lost in its previous seven matches (3-0-4).
Salt Lake, which entered the game against the Crew having scored
12 goals in its previous four games, has been shut out in
consecutive games for only the second time this season. In both
defeats, the club surrendered the two goals in a span of five
“My morale is real bad,” coach Jason Kreis said. “We need a huge
game on Saturday, a huge effort, we need these guys to pull
together and give absolutely everything they have because to have
three losses in a row would be monstrously bad.”
RSL, which is still holding on to one of the final playoff
spots, hasn’t lost three straight league matches since a four-game
skid in July 2007.
“It’s a must-win game,” midfielder Arturo Alvarez said of facing
the Red Bulls. “They’ve kind of been struggling as well and it’s a
great chance for us to get back on track.”
Like RSL, New York is also in the top 10 in the standings, but
it has hardly been playing like a playoff contender lately. The Red
Bulls (6-5-12) have earned two points in their last four MLS
matches and are 1-3-5 in their past nine.
New York hasn’t had a league match since playing to a 2-all draw
with FC Dallas on July 23. Thierry Henry scored his 11th goal, tied
for the league lead, in the 85th minute to help salvage a
Although the Red Bulls have dropped from first place to third in
the Eastern Conference over the last eight weeks, they’re brimming
with confidence after winning the Emirates Cup last weekend.
New York, which had relatively low expectations heading into the
tournament, defeated Paris Saint-Germain and tied Arsenal to win
the coveted trophy in London.
“It should be a boost confidence-wise for the rest of the
season,” coach Hans Backe told the Red Bulls’ official website.
It could be tough for Backe’s club to build on its performance
at Rio Tinto Stadium, where RSL is 7-2-3.
Real, 2-0-4 all-time against the Red Bulls in Utah, went 1-0-1
in the series last season. Fabian Espindola, RSL’s leader with six
goals, had the only score in the two matchups.