RSL begins crucial homestand against Vancouver

SANDY, Utah (ABC 4 Sports) - Real Salt Lake is hoping home is pretty sweet, since they'll be spending much of the next six weeks at Rio Tinto Stadium.

"It's definitely nice to be home and playing at home," said forward Devon Sandoval. "I feel like we have a huge advantage on our field and our fans are awesome too. They help motivate us."

RSL begins a crucial stretch of games Saturday night against Vancouver. Real plays three straight and five of its next six games on its home field.

"It's good to be at home," said head coach Jeff Cassar. "It's nice to be able to get into a rhythm for the players. 

RSL has just one victory in its last eight matches overall, but the team feels it isn't play poorly as evidenced by dominating possession in a 1-0 loss to the L.A. Galaxy last weekend.
"I think we feel pretty positive about some of the things that we did in the game," said midfielder Ned Grabavoy. "We obviously know collectively as a group, that we have to step up and find some goals from different players in different positions."

The last time Vancouver came to town in April, RSL surrendered a late two-goal lead including the tying goal in the final seconds of a 2-2 draw. That game still haunts RSL, but the team is out for a little revenge Saturday night.

"You do everything you can to get the win, and you should get the win," said defender Nat Borchers. "But you give one up in the last minute, so it's definitely something that you think about when you play that team again."

"It's something that we need to concentrate on is dominating a game from beginning to end," added Cassar. "I think we've gradually gotten better at that. Now, it's just about when we have a team down, keeping them down."

What is down is RSL's scoring. Outside of two penalty kick goals against New England, Real has gone 337 minutes without a goal in the run of play. Alvaro Saborio, who is out of action until at least September, and Joao Plata are the only forwards who have found the back of the net this season.

"It is what it is," said Sandoval. "We haven't scored. We need to be better and start scoring in the run of play. We're definitely working hard and I think we're right there. It's close."

I believe in our forwards 110 percent," Cassar said. "But the pressure is not all on them. It's on the midfielders giving the final ball, or on somebody else breaking down someone to then set them up."

RSL is also looking for its first shutout since May 24th, a span of seven matches across all competitions.

"On the defensive end, we have to get more shutouts," Borchers said. "When we shut teams out, we don't let them score first and we score first, then we're in a tremendous position."

RSL hosts Vancouver at 8:00 p.m. Saturday night on CW-30.

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