RSL, L.A. try to strengthen position for Supporters' Shield
Carson, CA – The league-leading Los Angeles Galaxy host Real Salt Lake at The Home Depot Center on Saturday with both teams looking to capture the MLS Supporters' Shield.
Real Salt Lake (51 points) could still potentially claim the MLS Supporters' Shield, but it trails Los Angeles (61 points) with just four games remaining.
Even though winning the regular season title may be a stretch, Real Salt Lake head coach Jason Kreis has his sights set on securing second place in the league.
"In particular it would be nice to finish second in the Supporter's Shield race because then we give ourselves a little insurance policy to qualify for CONCACAF," RSL head coach Jason Kreis told MLSsoccer.com after the team's practice session Thursday.
If Los Angeles was to reach MLS Cup, it would automatically qualify for the CONCACAF Champions League. Salt Lake would then earn a CCL berth for finishing second in the league, regardless of postseason performance.
But in order to move past Seattle Sounders FC, which currently occupies second place with 54 points, Real Salt Lake will need to find its form again.
Real Salt Lake has lost two straight matches, a 4-1 loss to D.C. United last Saturday followed by a 3-0 defeat to the Chicago Fire midweek.
"Anytime you take negative results, and especially in the fashion that we took these results [against D.C. and Chicago] - to be thumped in both of them - can really affect the confidence," admitted Kreis.
Midfielder Ned Grabavoy echoed his manager's sentiments, but explained that every team goes through the occasional rough patch.
"There have been ups and downs," Grabavoy told MLSsoccer.com. "I think there is that for every team. Ours are probably a bit more drastic. We're all professionals here. [These two results] are embarrassing, but at the same time I don't think we're going to doubt ourselves or lack any confidence going forward, so that's a key."
The Galaxy are coming off of a 2-1 midweek defeat of Morelia in the CCL, and while the team is excited by the win, they have not lost sight of the MLS fixture that awaits them on Saturday.
"Everyone's buzzing," said defender Todd Dunivant, "but this team's pretty level-headed for the most part. Everyone's obviously in a good mood, and that always happens when you win, but I think this team more than any hasn't really let our success, the highs and lows go too much on us."
Los Angeles has only lost three times in regular season play, one of which came at the hands of Real Salt Lake on March 26. The 2009 MLS Cup champions defeated the Galaxy 4-1 behind goals from Andy Williams, Paulo Araujo Jr., and two from Javier Morales.