RSL working on fixing late-game breakdowns

SANDY, Utah (ABC 4 Sports) - Real Salt Lake is still unbeaten. RSL is still near the top of the standings in the Western Conference.

But judging the reactions by the players Saturday night after giving up two late goals in a 2-2 draw against Vancouver, you'd think RSL was having a dreadful season.

"Disappointed is the best word to describe how we felt," said defender Nat Borchers. "I'm not going to use too many other adjectives, but we weren't happy about it."

"We definitely have high expectations at home," said defender Chris Wingert. "But the other reason why we were so bummed was the way it happened."

RSL suffered a couple of breakdowns late in the match and allowed two goals in the final five minutes, including the game-tying score on basically the last play. What is especially frustrating is this isn't the first time this has happened. Real gave up two late goals in a 3-3 draw at San Jose, and a 90th minute goal in a 2-2 draw at Philadelphia. 

"You'd like to think that since we're such an experienced team that we'd have the mental ability to close out games," said defender Tony Beltran. "But we have to constantly continue to strive to improve and be the best."

So what can be done to fix these late-game breakdowns?

"I think it really comes down to choices," said head coach Jeff Cassar. "Do you take a choice to take one touch or two, and where we're turning the ball over."

"The obvious thing is to not give away simple possession in dangerous parts of the field, which we've uncharacteristically done," said midfielder Ned Grabavoy. "So, there's lots of things that we can fix, and we have enough good players and smart players out there to make good decisions."

While RSL is now facing a little bit of adversity for the first time this season, they realize they are still playing very good soccer.

"It is adversity, but we were winning 2-0," Cassar said. "I'd sure much rather be winning in games and working on closing them out than having to come back."

"You look at the negatives and there were a few," said defender Chris Schuler. "But there are a lot of positives to take away too. So, we'll make the changes necessary to stop the bleeding late in the game."

RSL (3-0-5) tries to extend its unbeaten streak to nine this Saturday at Chicago and the team expects to come out strong.

"I know how we'll respond," said Beltran. "This is an experienced group and I know we're disappointed in ourselves for giving up these late goals. So, we're excited to get back out on the field for this game so we can redeem our mistakes."

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