Real hopes to snap skid against Portland
Sandy, UT – Real Salt Lake has hit rough patches before, but over the last few seasons at least, they rarely involved problems at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Although it has played just five games since the calendar turned to June, and just three at home, two defeats and a draw at home in a four-match winless run is a concern for Real.
RSL (10-6-3) lost the first two matches at home during its streak, and dropped points again Wednesday at home with a 0-0 draw against Seattle Sounders FC.
Coach Jason Kreis has been searching for the answer and it may arrive Saturday night at Rio Tinto, when the Portland Timbers visit in MLS action.
Portland (5-7-4) has accumulated just two points in seven road games, as it is 0-5-2 this season away from Jeld-Wen Field.
Kreis said Wednesday night he was "sad" the club failed to earn three points, but stayed positive after Real's first shutout in four matches.
"We're looking for positives in this game; that's our first shutout in a long time," Kreis said.
Despite the slump, Real is still just three points off the Western Conference summit. The San Jose Earthquakes lead the West, and MLS, with 36 points.
Real midfielder Chris Wingert was confident the team's effort against Seattle, which is on a nine-game winless run, would be a boost.
"Yea, absolutely. We needed (a good performance). We weren't lucky enough to get (a goal). I thought we were the better team. We talked about that a lot and that's what we build off of," Wingert said.
Portland picked up a 2-1 win over San Jose on Tuesday as Danny Mwanga and Jack Jewsbury scored at Jeld-Wen. The Timbers are 5-2-2 at home.
"I think it's easy to get up for games here," Portland coach John Spencer said earlier this week. "The passion and energy ... is just tremendous."
But away from Jeld-Wen, Portland has been terrible. The Timbers are one of two teams without a win on the road (FC Dallas is the other).
"We've proved we can do it here, and now it's time to go on the road and prove to everyone (we can do it there)," Jewsbury said.
"We've got confidence, but the reality is it is one game. It's time for us to start putting two and three performances together to really get us going up in the standings and in that playoff race.
"It feels good tonight, and tomorrow it will be nice to think back on it, but then we got to start thinking about Salt Lake on the weekend, and it's going to be another tough match."