RSl faces crucial MlS road trip

Thursday , March 06, 2014 - 1:20 PM

Standard-Examiner Staff

Real Salt Lake will look to win its third straight game across all competitions tonight, when the MLS leaders take on Western Conference rival L.A. Galaxy at 8:30 p.m. at StubHub Center.

This contest will be the third and final regular season matchup between RSL and L.A. this year. The sides split the first two meetings, with L.A. scoring two early goals to beat RSL 2-0 at Rio Tinto Stadium on April 27 before the Claret-and-Cobalt bagged two late tallies to down the Galaxy 3-1 at Rio Tinto Stadium on June 8.

Real Salt Lake enters the match in first place in the Supporters’ Shield and Western Conference races. The Claret-and-Cobalt are two points ahead of Eastern Conference leaders Sporting Kansas City in the battle for the Supporters’ Shield and five points ahead of Vancouver Whitecaps FC and the Colorado Rapids in the Western Conference race.

RSL is seven points ahead of LA, which sits in fifth-place in the West and has a game in hand on the Claret-and-Cobalt.

RSL won its last match, getting a goal from FW Alvaro Saborio to beat the Houston Dynamo 1-0 at Rio Tinto Stadium last Saturday. The win extended the Claret-and-Cobalt’s unbeaten run to three games across all competitions including the team’s Aug. 3 2-2 draw at Colorado and its 2-1 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Semifinal win over the Portland Timbers on Aug. 7.

Still, there is plenty of room for improvement, the team leaders say.

“I think you walk into the locker room and they’re already talking about being better next week,” head coach Jason Kreis said after the Houston win. “What can we do in training this week to be better next week; that’s pretty cool.”

The game will pit the two hottest players in the league against each other in RSL FW Alvaro Saborio and LA FW Landon Donovan. The two have absolutely torn up the league recently, with Saborio notching six goals and one assist in his last five MLS games and Donovan registering four goals and three helpers over the same span. Both players notched a hat trick during their strong runs of form.

“Hopefully we can build on the confidence of getting a shutout and getting back to keeping the zero which is always going to put us in a position to win,” midfielder Ned Grabavoy said.

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