With the previous game in Major League Soccer ending with a loss, RSL hopes to have a strong win, in order to maintain good position in the Western Conference.
RSL is currently tied for third place against LA. If they do not finish this weekend with sufficient points, the title of third place would go to LA, putting RSL in a dangerous zone. With only five games left in the regular season, fourth place would put RSL in a one-game elimination round, making it difficult to win the championship.
“Every game from here on out is absolutely critical for us,” RSL coach Jason Kreis said. “I really feel like the playoffs have already started.”
The pressure is also felt on the field.
“All these games are really big now because we are jockeying for a position in the playoffs,” Kyle Beckerman, team captain for RSL, said. “From here on out, our goal is to try and get maximum points, especially at home.”
Getting those points could be difficult because RSL’s lead scorer, Alvaro Saborio, may not play because of a shoulder injury, but coach Kreis sees this as an opportunity.
“Other players will step up to make the important plays,” Kreis said. “We have some other very gifted players on the back third of the field who will make up for that gap.”
In lieu of the recent game between BYU and Utah State, many BYU fans have been left disheartened, but Beckerman has a solution.
“We want to bring both BYU and Utah fans together and root for us,” Beckerman said. “Instead of hating each other, Real Salt Lake can be a way to bring everyone peacefully together for a good cause.”
BYU fans may have already taken Beckerman’s advice, because it is estimated that Rio Tinto Stadium will be sold out.
This saturday’s home game against Portland will be the third one of the season, RSL won the last two.
The game will be at 6 p.m. and will be broadcasted nationally on the NBC Sports channel.