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Sandy • It's become hard for Real Salt Lake coach Jason Kreis to see his club's success.
RSL sits in second place in the Western Conference, just two points behind San Jose and five ahead of third-place Seattle. Real's also second in the Supporters' Shield race, topping playoff-ready teams such as Houston, Kansas City and New York.
But even a couple off days of mental and physical peace left Kreis edgy Wednesday. RSL's disappointing 1-0 defeat to Colorado Rapids last Saturday still stung. His club continues to lose its footing and confidence away from Rio Tinto Stadium. And with two days remaining before RSL flies to Vancouver, British Columbia, to tackle the Whitecaps, Kreis' mind is focused on Real's recent slippage.
"I'm going to continue to be concerned by details. Of course, that's why I'm the coach. I'm the one that sits up at night thinking about those things. I want it to be perfect," said Kreis, following practice Wednesday at America First Field. "The real issue is that I've been here long enough and with these players long enough to know their exact potential, and they're not scraping it right now."
While a rested RSL had a solid workout Wednesday, Kreis said an improved Vancouver squad that attacks with an established style won't allow for a breather.
"It's a very, very good team. … And they deserve to be where they're at," he said. "They didn't get there through luck or happenstance. They got there by being a good team and a hard-working team."
RSL defenseman Nat Borchers acknowledged a claim on first place in the West and collecting the Supporters' Shield is just one strong winning streak away. But Real is running out of matches, and its road-heavy schedule leaves little room for failure.
"That's why you take time off, you put things in perspective," Borchers said. "We've got such high expectations for this group. We're such a good group of players that we always expect to win. And when we don't, we're frustrated and getting on each other, and that's part of being on a good team."
Kreis turned to substitutes Will Johnson and Emiliano Bonfigli during the 63rd minute of RSL's loss to Colorado Rapids.
The RSL coach acknowledged he daily evaluates ways to improve his team's overall performance, but is unsure whether he'll make significant lineup changes against Vancouver.
"It's not just always about who's playing well and who's not playing well," he said. "Sometimes it's about who looks very fatigued and who doesn't look very fatigued at this point in the season."
Major League Soccer announced Wednesday a new playoff tiebreaker system that will be effective this season.
In order, the tiebreakers are goals scored, goal differential and disciplinary points.
They will be used to determine playoff seeding when two or more teams are tied on points at the end of the regular season.
MLS said the new system was established because the previous method doesn't mesh with the league's conference-based schedule.
The changes were proposed by MLS' Technical Committee, which has representation from all 19 clubs. The proposal was approved in April by the MLS Board of Governors.
RSL at Vancouver
P Saturday, 5 p.m.
TV • Ch. 4