This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Sandy • If last week felt like Deja Vu, Real Salt Lake fans, don't rub those eyes. It was exactly that.
Now, similar questions resurface for RSL. The club must move on from a disappointing week at home that saw it bounce from the U.S. Open Cup against a second-team heavy Seattle Sounders group before a dominating effort against D.C. United resulted in a single point rather than three.
Forward Yura Movsisyan said it himself Saturday: "Deja Vu."
Two second-half leads at Rio Tinto Stadium did not hold up, which brings players and the coaching staff back to a familiar problem it faced the first month of the season: Late leads relinquished. With one of Major League Soccer's most potent attacking teams coming to town Saturday in the Montreal Impact, RSL again will have its hands full.
If they nab a lead, can they protect it?
RSL coach Jeff Cassar said after Tuesday's training his team was a little naive in the way it approached the end of that game against D.C. United. With the match fully in control, RSL still managed to let points slip away. In order to lock leads down going forward, Cassar said the staff will continue to harp on choices made as the clock ticks upward.
"We do have to learn how to manage [and] close out games in a mature fashion," he said.
Cassar told his team Tuesday that there would be no finger-pointing as to the cause of individual, game-changing mistakes. His message? Each player and coach has to take a look in the mirror to solve the riddle.
Defender Chris Wingert conceded that leads must be protected better if RSL is to replicate its strong first half of the season.
"Of course," Wingert said. "But I think almost every team needs to do that that's not a world champion. We need, in that game [against D.C.], we need to shut them out, finish the game 1-0 and we also need to be able to score the second goal."
Chris Schuler directed traffic in another training session with RSL Tuesday. The 6-foot-4 center back screamed directions to the players in front of him, both in English and Spanish. When shots came his way during drills, he got his long legs in the way more often than not.
Like the old days.
Schuler has been training with RSL often the past couple of weeks. The 28-year-old defender signed a deal with RSL's USL affiliate Real Monarchs in March in an effort to give the oft-injured veteran a chance to get games under his belt after missing the previous nine months due to a foot injury. So far, he's started in six matches with the Monarchs before suffering a hamstring strain a few weeks ago that sidelined him briefly.
Could Schuler be part of the club's plans to fortify the first-team roster this summer?
"What we need to see again is more consistency, not just in his play, in his health," Cassar said. "We'll see."
Not just Drogba
Luke Mulholland made sure to remind MLS followers that the Montreal Impact are more than just the 38-year-old superstar Didier Drogba. The RSL midfielder name-dropped Montreal attacker Ignacio Piatti, the 31-year-old Argentine who is second in MLS this year in goals scored with 10. In 2015, Piatti had nine goals and eight assists, playing a major role in the Impact's turnaround.
"He's a top-class player as well," Mulholland said.
Montreal at RSL
P Saturday, 8 p.m.
TV • KMYU