MLS Preview from The Sports Network|
Friday, July 4, 2014
(All times Eastern)
New England (7-6-2) at Real Salt Lake (6-3-7), 10 p.m.
Sandy, UT (SportsNetwork.com) - A pair of struggling sides will meet at Rio
Tinto Stadium on Friday as Real Salt Lake plays host to the New England
Salt Lake has lost three of its last four games to slip into a tie with the
Colorado Rapids for second place in the Western Conference.
The Claret and Cobalt are now 10 points back of first-place Seattle Sounders
FC, a deficit that places added pressure on Jeff Cassar's men to claim maximum
points on Friday.
"It's a home game. It's July 4," Cassar told reporters. "We need three points
without a doubt. I would say every game now is extremely important. But
anytime you're playing at home, it's key."
Salt Lake has been hampered by the absences of Kyle Beckerman and Nick
Rimando, who have been on international duty with the United States national
team for over a month. Without the duo, the Claret and Cobalt have produced a
less-than-stellar 1-3-2 record.
The United States was ousted from the World Cup by Belgium on Tuesday, but
don't expect to see Beckerman and Rimando return to action with RSL on Friday.
"When they come back in town, I'll talk to them and see where they're at,"
Cassar continued. "But I imagine we're going to have to be smart and give them
a little bit of time off. ... There's a lot more games left in the season."
New England also enters Friday's clash desperate for points.
The Revs were flying on a run of six wins in seven games, but they have lost
their last three outings to drop to third place in the Eastern Conference.
New England's last contest ended in a disappointing 3-1 home defeat to the
Philadelphia Union, a second consecutive home loss.
"You can say it's an off night, you can say it wasn't our night," Revs head
coach Jay Heaps said after the match. "But that's the easy way out."
Goals were plentiful for the Revs during an impressive stretch that saw them
win five straight by a combined score of 16-5, but the well appeared to run
dry last time out as Teal Bunbury, Diego Fagundez and Patrick Mullins all
spurned chances inside the opening 15 minutes.
"I thought we should've taken our chances in the first 15 minutes," Heaps
said. "Then I thought we were second-best, quite frankly. So the bad goal was
kind of the final straw of that first half. I don't think we were good enough
all the way through, so that goal really hurt us."
07/03 17:05:55 ET