Sandy, UT – Real Salt Lake will shoot for a bounce-back performance on Saturday when the club welcomes the San Jose Earthquakes to Rio Tinto Stadium.
Real Salt Lake has been riding high leading the Supporters' Shield race for most of the season, but they lost their grip on MLS's top spot last week after suffering a sobering 2-0 loss to the white-hot Seattle Sounders FC.
Real Salt Lake fell behind early against Seattle as a lapse in marking allowed the dangerous Obfemi Martins to get free in the penalty area before the Nigerian international volleyed home a cross from Andy Rose just three minutes into the match.
RSL picked up its play after allowing the early goal, but the Sounders doubled the lead in the 38th minute when DeAndre Yedlin sent a low cross into the box for Lamar Neagle to pound home for the 2-0 advantage.
The result dropped Real Salt Lake out of the top spot in the West, as Seattle took the lead in the conference with 49 points.
"Obviously to give away a goal three minutes in off what started as a throw in, it's not good enough. We weren't tight enough with (Obafemi) Martins," RSL head coach Jason Kreis said. "He was allowed to turn the ball basically 24 yards out in the middle of the field, switched the ball to the other side, then cross comes in and he runs in unmarked. Not good enough. Whenever you give away a goal in front of 60,000 people with a very good team like that, you're going to be in for a very difficult night. For the most part, it was a very difficult night. I honestly felt we got out-competed."
San Jose, meanwhile, is coming off a scoreless draw at Buck Shaw Stadium last week with Vancouver Whitecaps FC and need three points to stay within shouting distance of the playoff places in the Western Conference.
Scoring chances were extremely hard to come by against Vancouver as the home side's best chance came in the 61st minute when forward Chris Wondolowski's redirection of a Sam Cronin free kick went straight to Whitecaps goalkeeper David Ousted.
"I think our confidence level is fine. We're obviously a bit disappointed that we didn't get the three points, but we know there are still lots of points on the table. Although the games are running out with five to go, it'll be crucial to win our remaining games," said Earthquakes interim head coach Mark Watson.
San Jose currently sits five points adrift of the fifth and final playoff berth in the West, and a win would bring the club to within one point with four matches remaining on the regular-season schedule.
In 18 all-time meetings between the clubs, RSL holds a 7-6-5 margin, including a pair of victories against the 'Quakes this season.