Sandy, UT – Real Salt Lake has a good chance to get back to winning ways on Saturday when it welcomes struggling Toronto FC to Rio Tinto Stadium.
The Claret and Cobalt began the season in impressive form, taking 15 points from its opening six games, and despite managing just one point from its last three league contests, the club still clings to its first-place position in the Western Conference where it sits tied with the San Jose Earthquakes on 16 points.
Real Salt Lake played to a 1-1 draw with FC Dallas in its last outing, neutralizing its poor record in Frisco. Tony Beltran's hand ball late in the first half saw Dallas take the lead through a penalty kick from Brek Shea, but the visitors were able to equalize 18 minutes from time thanks to Emiliano Bonfigli's first career MLS goal.
Head coach Jason Kreis was pleased with the response from his side in the second half, and he hopes that the performance carries over into Saturday's match against Toronto.
"I asked the guys for a little bit more, for a little bit better," Kreis said after Wednesday's match. "This is the second game in a row where we were in a tough spot. We gave up a goal right before halftime and that can be very mentally draining. We stuck together and played a much better second half.
"I am very pleased with both of our second half responses in our last two games, so we'll see if we can't stretch that 45 minutes into 90."
Salt Lake may not even need a full 90 minutes to claim a win against Toronto.
To say that Aron Winter's side is struggling would be an understatement. The club is still looking for its first point of the season, and to try and claim one at Rio Tinto would be a tall order.
Winter refuses to panic though, stating that things can turn in Toronto's favor once the first few points of the season are collected.
"I'm not a guy who is going to panic or get panicky," Winter told MLSsoccer.com. "I want the guys to get results and we're going to turn around. It's not a nice situation at this moment.
"The most important thing is to keep everybody together, committed to each other and we have to work hard and that is what we're doing at this moment. It's going to change, I don't know when."
For the sake of Winter's job, hopefully it happens at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday.