New England Soccer Today

Real Tough Task

Getting a result at Rio Tinto Stadium won't be easy for the Revolution on Saturday night. (Photo: Joshua Pearson)

The Revolution snapped a three-game losing streak by defeating Colorado on Wednesday night. But turning that victory into a winning streak is going to be difficult, especially since the Revolution’s next opponent is Real Salt Lake on Saturday night.

After a 2-1 comeback victory on Wednesday, the Revolution departed for Utah on Thursday. The long flight, coupled with the fatigue resulting from Wednesday’s match, puts the Revolution at disadvantage going into Rio Tinto Stadium, where they have yet to win a game.

Salt Lake City has been less than hospitable to the Revolution, who haven’t won a game there since 2007. In fact, the Revolution have just won twice in Utah since Salt Lake joined the league in 2005. The Revolution have frequently travelled to Rio Tinto Stadium only to be defeated by four, five, and six goal margins. But aside from the harsh, 4,200-foot elevation that can run a team’s form right into the ground, the Revolution will have the difficult task of playing against a strong, well-rounded team.

Real Salt Lake have been very successful since their MLS Cup win in 2009, qualifying for the playoffs every season and even reaching the finals of last year’s CONCACAF Champions League. Coach Jason Kreis employs a high-powered offense that has already combined to score 16 goals this season, the second most in the Western Conference.

In Salt Lake, no singular player leads the goal scoring charge. Talented offensive players like Fabian Espindola, Javier Morales, and Emiliano Bonfigli have all combined to create goals and lift Real Salt Lake to where they currently sit in the Western Conference standings — second place behind San Jose.

But while Real Salt Lake doesn’t have a Thierry Henry, Chris Wondolowski, or Robbie Keane, the Revolution will still have to be alert. Snatching a result- whether one point or three- won’t be an easy feat given the Revolution’s fatigue and Real Salt Lake’s quality.

The Revolution defense has had difficulty shutting out oppoents- Matt Reis has just one shutout so far this season. The pairing of Stephen McCarthy and AJ Soares is a work in progress, and the duo will have to be at their best come kick-off on Saturday night. Meanwhile, the offense has to continue finding the back of the net as it did on Wednesday.

As Revolution captain Shalrie Joseph puts it: “This team has too many talented offensive players not to score.”

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