RSL seek bounce-back vs. East-leading Union
Real Salt Lake will try to extend their home winning streak to five in a row when they host the Eastern Conference-leading Philadelphia Union on Saturday night in Sandy, Utah.
RSL enter off a bitter 1-0 loss at San Jose last Saturday, losing in the third minute of stoppage time on a goal by Danny Hoesen. It spoiled the 500th regular-season MLS start by All-Star goaltender Nick Rimando, who had recorded back-to-back home shutouts over Sporting Kansas City (2-0) and the Columbus Crew (1-0).
The loss also kept Real Salt Lake (8-9-2, 26 points) in eighth place in the Western Conference, one point behind the Houston Dynamo for the final playoff spot.
“We let that one slip away,” RSL coach Mike Petke told the Salt Lake Tribune. “But six points out of nine in a week, we’ll take it.”
Petke said the loss lingered into training sessions this week.
“We’ve put it behind us, but guys are still a bit upset about that last-second winner,” he said. “But we have no one to blame but ourselves falling asleep in a split second.”
Philadelphia (10-5-6, 36 points) comes in off a lackluster 2-2 home draw with Orlando City SC on Sunday, the back end of a home-and-home with the Lions that began with a 3-1 victory four days earlier in Florida. Kacper Przybylko’s ninth goal of the season in the 90th minute earned the Union the draw on Sunday.
Philadelphia manager Jim Curtin, who was awarded a two-year contract extension Wednesday, said he believes his team learned a valuable lesson in Sunday’s draw.
“I think we got a lesson against Orlando, thinking it was just going to be a nice, comfortable victory,” he told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “We’re not going to just run away with this thing. We have a lot of really good teams chasing us, so every point is going to matter.”
The Union, who could be without injured midfielders Jamiro Monteiro (ankle) and Ilsinho, should get a boost from recently signed 29-year-old forward Andrew Wooten, who is expected to make his debut after signing in the secondary transfer window.
Wooten scored 17 goals in 32 games this past season with SV Sandhausen of the 2. Bundesliga, a second division league in Germany.
REUTERS/Field Level Media