Sandy, UT – After opening the season with five of its first seven games away from home, Real Salt Lake returns to Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday to begin a three-match homestand, starting with Chivas USA.
Salt Lake has endured an inconsistent start to the season that has been plagued by injuries, leading the team to just one win in its last six games.
But with the club returning home to the friendly confines of Rio Tinto as well as the return to health of a few key pieces, RSL will be hoping for its fortunes to change.
Head coach Jason Kreis has gotten back the services of Alvaro Saborio, Joao Plata and Javier Morales to help a sputtering offense, while fellow forward Robbie Findley is on the mend as well.
In the absence of some of Salt Lake's more established stars, Olmes Garcia stepped up to score his first MLS goal in a 1-1 draw with Vancouver last weekend.
It was a brilliant goal by the 20-year-old and offered RSL a glimpse of the future, although Kreis has cautioned that there is still much work to be done.
"I think that individual play is great," said Kreis of the goal. "Do I think that there could have been more plays in that game and perhaps should have been plays in that game? Yeah, so I think there is still a lot of improvement needed on his part.
"I hope that we all don't feel that he just scored one goal so his job is done because there is a whole lot more left to be done."
Chivas head coach Jose Luis Sanchez Sola feels the same way about his team after a 1-0 defeat against the Colorado Rapids.
The Goats have been one of the surprise packages of the season so far, and the defeat came after a run of 10 points from four games.
"The only path that we have now, is hard work," Sanchez Sola said. "We don't have any other choice. We thought we would get an easy win because our past results. We were unbeaten in four games and we thought we were hot stuff and of course, we got away from the hard work, which should be our only path."
After Chivas went behind to an early penalty kick from Deshorn Brown, Jose Correa had a chance to level the match from the spot, but he failed to convert, while Chivas also missed a number of other chances to equalize.
"It came down to us missing our opportunities," goalkeeper Dan Kennedy said of the loss to the Rapids. "It's still early in the season. We'll use it as a lesson. We need to remember how this feels and make sure it's only a one-game feeling."