RSL hits the road to tangle with struggling Chivas

After clinching its fifth successive playoff berth last weekend, Real Salt Lake heads to The Home Depot Center to take on Chivas USA on Saturday in an effort to improve its postseason position.

Salt Lake enters the weekend level on 49 points with the Los Angeles Galaxy for second place in the Western Conference, and is only one point clear of fourth-place Seattle.

So with four games remaining, it will be important for RSL to finish strong and secure a place in the top three, thus avoiding the wild-card round in this season's playoffs.

The 2-1 win over Portland last time out not only booked a place in the postseason for Salt Lake, but it was also important because the club got goals from both Fabian Espindola and Javier Morales.

With leading scorer Alvaro Saborio sidelined because of a shoulder injury, many wondered who would step forward to help fill the void.

And against the Timbers, Espindola snapped a 14-game goal drought, while Morales found the net for the first time in 12 matches.

"I think it was important that we got goals from Fabian Espindola and Javier Morales," head coach Jason Kreis said. "They were big-time plays from big-time players."

It was the first time in six matches that RSL has scored more than one goal in a single game, and Kreis thinks that Espindola, in particular, will benefit from snapping his goal drought.

"It's a step in the right direction," said Kreis of getting Espindola back on track. "I think that his confidence should improve from here on out."

Saturday's match will be important for Kreis and his team because the schedule gets much tougher the next few weeks, with road games against both Los Angeles and Seattle before closing the season at home against a Vancouver side still battling for a playoff spot.

Anything less than three points against Chivas will be disappointing, and could leave the club in danger of dropping out of the top three.

Chivas enters the contest on the bottom of the West and would rather forget the month of September, having lost all five of its games with just one goal scored.

The last win for the Goats came July 28 at Portland, and RSL has no intention of helping Chivas snap that streak.