Patience Is Wearing Thin As Real Salt Lake Continues To Search For Closing Formula

Jun 29, 2021, 2:54 PM
Photo courtesy: Real Salt Lake...
Photo courtesy: Real Salt Lake

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Real Salt Lake has looked the better team in a number of matches to begin the 2021 MLS season, but sadly, they have fallen apart down the stretch and left many points on the pitch, much to the dismay of the players.

Last weekend against Houston was another example of this. RSL dominated the fixture and looked poised to collect all three points when defender Justen Glad got on the end of an Albert Rusnak corner in the 11th minute and sent the hosts up a goal.

But then, Houston equalized with their first shot of the game and RSL never looked like the same dominant outfit from the first half.

This isn’t the first time this season in which some form of frustration and heartache has ensued inside the final 45 minutes of a match. In fact, RSL has felt similar discomfort in two previous home games from a possible five matches.

The difference now is that the frustration is clearly evident in the hearts and minds of the playing group. Following the Houston draw, Bobby Wood, Justen Glad, and manager Freddy Juarez were far more frustrated than they have been following previous results in the past.

“We have to find a way to kill them,” Wood mentioned on a number of occasions during his post-game media availability.

Then, when Juarez was asked about his team’s seemingly constant second-half disappointments he mentioned that the “guys know what the message is” and that he would not have changed anything at halftime.

But this trend can only continue for so long before someone or something breaks. The message, as robust as it may be, must be altered if the results do not change. The timeframe is starting to be tested.

The calibre of soccer with which RSL is playing is promosing and the results are not losses. However, some draws feel like wins and others feel like losses and sadly for RSL in 2021, they have had more draws feel like losses than they have wins which is testing the mindset of the lockeroom.

The next test for RSL will come with a fixture against LAFC this upcoming Saturday as Rio Tinto Stadium welcomes Corey Baird back onto its pitch.

LAFC is positioned one place lower than RSL in the standings. But they have been without their captain and leader Carlos Vela for the majority of the season due to injury. Vela has returned and will be available for selection against RSL in just under a weeks time.

Without question, if RSL cannot determine their own outcome late in games then this season will be thrown away. They cannot allow teams back into the game with just minutes to spare after dominating the majority of the game up until that point.

It is inexcusable. It depletes the mindset of the playing group and gradually exhausts the trust created between the players and coaching staff.

It must end and it must end starting with the upcoming home fixture against LAFC.




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