Real Salt Lake, a club we talked about as Supporters Shield candidates are recently as two weeks ago, has a wee little two-game losing streak working at the very worst possible time.
Last week’s loss at in-form Seattle can certainly be excused for Jason Kreis’ team. But to fall at home to the San Jose Earthquakes, a team with a ton of work ahead just to make the 2013 playoffs and with just one lone win on the road this year? Something is going sideways for Kreis’ side.
It starts with giving up early goals. Last week, Seattle’s Obafemi Martins ran all kinds of free just three minutes into the match at CenturyLink. RSL was down right away and never recovered.
Saturday in Utah, San Jose scored twice in the first 21 minutes, including one goal off a quickly taken free kick. While it’s a clever little bit, it is something the Earthquakes do regularly, and no one around Rio Tinto should have been surprised to see it Saturday.
Regardless, Steven Lenhart found the end of it for one of his two goals. (We haven’t written much about Lenhart’s shenanigans lately, which means he’s mostly behaving himself. Saturday, the Earthquakes rabble-rouser showed once again that he can be a reasonably skilled soccer player when he concentrates doing just that – playing soccer, that is.)
Saturday’s 2-1 loss also underscores how much Real Salt Lake needs a healthy Alvaro Saborio, who tried to practice this week but still had too much pain from the recent calf injury; RSL officials hope he can return for next week’s match in Vancouver.
From San Jose’s side, they remain four points off the playoff pace, and they have one fewer game remaining than some of the teams still in front. So, again, many miles to go. On the other hand, Saturday’s match in the Utah mountains was the toughest of the remaining set, so there’s still a little hope for the Buck Shaw bunch.