This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated.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.
Summer hasn't been all that kind to Real Salt Lake at least so far.
RSL's summertime woes continued Wednesday on a pristine night in downtown Vancouver. The 2-0 loss to the Whitecaps dropped RSL (8-6-5, 29 points) to 1-2-3 in league play since returning from the Copa America Centenario break in early June. Against a club that hadn't won at home since mid-May and that leads the Western Conference in goals conceded, RSL couldn't break through against the Whitecaps.
"We've said moral victories a lot, but it's time to stop that," goalkeeper Jeff Attinella said. "We've got to start getting results."
The dropped points at home the last month still loom. RSL has six points from its last six regular-season games, which would be acceptable form if not for four of the six coming at home at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy. Defender Tony Beltran said on the post-game telecast after the loss Wednesday that RSL's summer struggles have allowed teams below third-place RSL to quickly catch up.
Only three points now separate RSL, Vancouver, L.A. Galaxy, Sporting Kansas City and the Portland Timbers.
RSL entered the brief break in early June 7-4-2 after managing several results in nine of its first 13 on the road. Since, RSL hasn't looked the same. The team conceded in its 15th-consecutive match across all competitions in Vancouver and the goals that came in droves before the break are eluding RSL at the moment.
Against the Whitecaps, RSL had four shots on goal, but the team with the third-best conversion rate in MLS still needs to improve on the final pass in the attack, head coach Jeff Cassar said.
"I think it's again kind of going back to the last three or four games," he said. "We're doing a lot of very good things and then the final product isn't quite there. We're just going to continue to put the guys in those situations, look to improve every time when we can, and I have full confidence in our players that the more we get them in those positions, they'll come through."
Despite being the aggressors for the first half-hour in Vancouver, another untimely break hit RSL. An emergency clearance by Tony Beltran a few yards from goal bounced off the chest of Justen Glad and in to give the Whitecaps a lifeline at home. Three minutes later, Vancouver's Cristian Techera drilled a brilliant left-footed volley into the top corner, which put RSL in a hole that it wouldn't climb out of.
"Up to that point we felt really good," said midfielder Jordan Allen. "But goals change games, and we saw that today I think."
The schedule doesn't relent, either. RSL hits the midway point of five matches in 13 days Saturday night against the visiting New England Revolution in Sandy. Another quick turnaround awaits as Italian Serie A club Inter Milan hits Rio Tinto Stadium Tuesday in an international friendly. Three days after that, it's the San Jose Earthquakes at home.
No rest for the weary.
During his own post-game telecast stint Wednesday night, Cassar said that the match against the Revolution is a must-win. "I don't care how it happens we have to get three points."
"That's the good thing about having all these games back-to-back, we don't have a lot of time to think about it," Allen said. "Going back home we have a chance to make right what we failed to do today."
RSL vs. New England Revolution
Saturday, 8 p.m. MDT
TV » KMYU