MLS Preview from The Sports Network (ET)
06/03/2014 5:23 PM
06/03/2014 5:27 PM
Real Salt Lake (6-1-6) at Columbus (4-5-4), 7:30 p.m.
Columbus, OH (SportsNetwork.com) - Real Salt Lake will look to bounce back after suffering its first defeat of the season when the club heads to Crew Stadium to face the Columbus Crew on Wednesday.
The Claret and Cobalt entered last weekend unbeaten through their first 12 regular season games of the campaign, but Seattle Sounders FC laid a thumping on Jeff Cassar's men at CenturyLink Field on Saturday as the hosts ran out to a 4-0 victory.
Salt Lake was without key players like Nick Rimando, Kyle Beckerman and Alvaro Saborio, but that is not necessarily a valid excuse given that the Sounders were without the services of Clint Dempsey.
"To be honest with you, I just told the guys to discount the third and fourth goals because we were pushing and we knew we were going to be exposed at the back," Cassar said after the match. "But I thought the commitment level was there. It was a very even match in the first half for sure. Two dead ball situations - the PK and the free kick - then the rest was just breaks on counters. It's a tough place to play and we don't have a full arsenal, but I thought the guys out there did a very good job."
While suffering such a resounding defeat would seem to have a negative impact on morale, Cassar believes that the quick turnaround will benefit the troops.
"Absolutely," the head coach said when asked if having a quick turnaround helps erase the memory of the four-goal defeat. "What I've been stressing all along with these guys is - we win, great, on to the next game, we lose, OK it sucks, move on to the next game. That's what we're going to do - move on to the next game."
Salt Lake will specifically look to generate more offense against Columbus as the club has not managed a to score a goal in its last two matches.
Cassar's men will be coming up against a Columbus team that has conceded three goals on two occasions over its last three league games, though both of them came away from home.
The Crew's last home match ended with a 2-0 victory over the Chicago Fire, but they failed to follow that result with another positive performance as the club conceded a late goal in a 3-2 defeat to Toronto FC at the weekend.
Columbus will follow Wednesday's clash with another game on Saturday, a road tilt at D.C. United. For head coach Gregg Berhalter, it is an opportunity to shuffle the squad, keep players fresh and see what some fringe players have to offer.
"It's a good opportunity to get some fresh legs on the field," the Crew boss told the club's official website. "It's testing the depth of this group and I think that's what's important. When you see the lineup that ended the game in Toronto, it was a lot of new faces and it was a great opportunity for these guys to get battle-tested and perform under some pressure."
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