Friday night was a disappointment. There is no other way to say it.
For a squad that looked like it could win the Supporters’ Shield, it was a major setback. That’s not just a fan perception or a journalistic perception. You could tell it was the team’s perception too.
Jason Kreis went to a 4-3-3 at halftime, getting aggressive in an attempt to get back in the match. In a normal regular season match on the road, he’d probably have waited until the 60th minute. Not so Saturday. He really wanted this one.
Seattle’s Tough Schedule
The six point swing may cost Real Salt Lake the Supporters’ Shield, but I don’t think that’s a done deal yet. This last weekend was a stark reminder to fans around the league (especially in LA and Montreal) that there are no easy matches in MLS.
Moreover, Seattle faces a brutal stretch of matches against teams fighting for playoff spots: Galaxy 2x, Red Bulls, Rapids, Whitecaps, Timbers, FC Dallas. Going to Dallas is probably the easiest match on that schedule, and I don’t need to tell RSL fans how hard playing in Dallas can be.
Real Salt Lake’s Last 5
Last week I wrote that RSL would likely win the Supporters’ Shield with 60 points. I still believe that. To get there, the Claret and Cobalt will need to win four of their remaining five matches. Does that sound like a tough ask? It is, but look at the schedule.
- Home – San Jose Earthquakes
- Away – Vancouver Whitecaps
- Home – FC Dallas
- Away – Portland Timbers
- Home – Chivas USA
Real Salt Lake will be favored to win at least four, if not all five, of these matches. The midweek US Open Cup Final between the Vancouver and Dallas matches might complicate things a bit, but only one of these teams (the slumping Timbers) is going to make the playoffs.
I think winning four is very manageable and could give Salt Lake the shield. Time will tell how things play out, but I’m not convinced the franchise’s first shield is out of reach.