Having lost its last three away matches, Real Salt Lake will look to keep its grip on a Western Conference playoff position when it visits the last-place San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday night.
Salt Lake (9-9-3, 30 points) enters the weekend holding onto the sixth and final playoff spot in the West at the moment based on the strength of their home form, having earned the most home points (26) of any Western Conference side.
RSL have been equally poor away from Rio Tinto Stadium, however, most recently suffering losses at the LA Galaxy, Columbus Crew SC and Minnesota United. The last two of those were decided by a single goal, which suggests a more favorable result is possible with a step down in class to face San Jose (2-12-6, 12 points).
“This is definitely a game where we can get the three points,” said RSL forward Albert Rusnak.””But that’s been the case for the last four weeks or something when we’ve been on the road and never really got anything. So we’ve just got to concentrate on ourselves and we have to do much better than we did in the last few games.”
The Earthquakes are now winless in their last 11 matches and have lost three straight following a 1-0 home defeat to the Seattle Sounders on Wednesday night.
With center back Guram Kashia making his MLS debut, the Quakes outshot the Sounders 13-10 and led 5-2 in efforts on target yet were shut out for a second consecutive league match.
“It was Guram’s first game, but you saw he was talking a lot and organizing and I think we benefited from that,” said San Jose striker Danny Hoesen. “Unfortunately, the goal [came from] a bad back pass by me and just one counter and they scored. I don’t think they created much before or after that. But I think the way we organized the team, we can take that into the next game.”
Hoesen enters the game with 10 goals, the only player on either team to reach double digits this season. RSL’s Joao Plata has six, as does San Jose’s Chris Wondolowski, who at age 35 sits five shy of Landon Donovan’s career MLS record of 145.
—Field Level Media