Real Salt Lake-Revolution Preview
Real Salt Lake capped off a solid homestand in successful fashion. To continue its recent strong play, it will have to find a way to break through on the road against one of the best defenses in MLS.
Salt Lake looks to end a four-game road winless streak Wednesday night against the New England Revolution, whom it has dominated over the past five years.
RSL's only victory away from home was a 2-0 win over San Jose in its season opener March 3. The club has been shut out three times in four road contests since.
Salt Lake (4-4-2), though, posted its second win in three home games with a 2-0 victory over Vancouver on Saturday. Joao Plata assisted on both goals, pushing his season total to four to tie for the league lead.
"I felt like we got better and better and better as the game went on and I have to feel good about it," coach Jason Kreis said. "That's what we want. We want a team that is capable of improving during a match and calm enough to do so."
New England (2-3-3) is tied for last in the league with four goals, though three came in two matches prior to a scoreless draw at Portland on Thursday.
While the Revolution continue to sputter offensively, their defense is keeping them competitive. They've yielded a conference-low six goals and recorded their fifth shutout and third in four games Thursday.
Eight players have made starts on the back line in front of goalkeepers Matt Reis and Bobby Shuttleworth.
"We all kept our lines, kept our shape and we were able to keep a clean sheet," Shuttleworth told the team's official website after the Portland game. "I think it shows the depth we have on this team. (Coach) Jay (Heaps) has done a great job of creating competition and creating depth. You can see guys are coming in and doing really well, we aren't missing a beat."
Shuttleworth has posted three of his team's shutouts.
The sturdy back line should be tested by a Salt Lake club that leads the league in shots on goal with 49. However, Salt Lake is banged up at forward as Alvaro Saborio will miss his third straight game and Robbie Findley and Olmes Garcia are questionable.
Salt Lake's defense received a boost against the Whitecaps with the season debut of veteran Chris Wingert, who had been out with a fracture in his right foot.
"I was really pleased to have him out there," Kreis said. "He's a steady influence on the rest of the group, and was in some really good spots."
RSL has gone 4-0-1 in the last five meetings with New England and 6-1-2 in the series since the start of the 2008 season. Saborio scored both Salt Lake goals in a 2-1 victory last May 5 in the only meeting of 2012.