SALT LAKE CITY -- Winning decisive matches at Rio Tinto Stadium have been a major problem for Real Salt Lake, but RSL aren't anticipating the same type of struggles in Thursday’s Western Conference Semifinal Series second leg against the LA Galaxy.
In recent years, RSL has been faced with several opportunities to win silverware or close out a postseason series at Rio Tinto—most notably: the 2011 CONCACAF Champions League Final against Monterrey and the 2013 U.S. Open Cup vs. D.C. United—and fallen short each time.
This time around with LA up 1-0 on aggregate heading into the second leg, Salt Lake need a two goal victory to advance outright or a one goal advantage and risk penalty kicks. Even though RSL has not enjoyed much success in important matches at the stadium that they once labeled “the Fortress” they’re hopeful of advancing against LA.
“I think that there’s definitely magnified when it’s a home game, but for us the way that I look at it, we’re doing something good to get opportunities to win on our home soil,” said RSL captain Kyle Beckerman in a conference call with reporters earlier this week. “There’s been some good games where we've won… I feel confident, we keep putting ourselves in the opportunities and we’re going to succeed in one of these.
“It’s a big task. They’re a very dangerous team and they’ll get the best out of themselves in the playoffs. It would have been tough regardless, but we just have to go in with a confident mindset,” Beckerman continued. “We’ll see what happens early… but the advantage is there. It’s at our place, we have the altitude so we’re feeling alright and really excited to get to Thursday to see what happens.”
NOTES: RSL will not have the services of midfielder Ned Grabavoy due to a hamstring strain. It’s likely that spritely midfielder Sebastian Velasquez will take his spot in the lineup…A near sellout is expected at Rio Tinto Stadium on Thursday with more than 70 LA Galaxy fans in attendance.