Rough road ahead for RSL

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After a quick two-game home stand against the Seattle Sounders FC and the league’s best Houston Dynamo, RSL is 5-2-4 in their last 11 games, but their slow start to the season may end up putting them on the outside looking in come playoff time.

RSL got a much-needed three points with a 1-0 win over the Seattle Sounders FC on Aug. 8. RSL played stellar defense throughout the match and held Seattle to one shot on goal.

In the 62nd minute, goal keeper Nick Rimando saw something he knew he could take advantage of when he saw forward Robbie Findley making his way toward the goal, and with a perfect goal kick, Findley trapped the ball, shook a defender and got his eighth goal of season.

However, one week later they let an opportunity slip away with a tie against the MLS best Houston Dynamo Aug 16.

In the 36th minute of the match, Dynamo defender Andrew Hainault was sent off for getting a red card which gave RSL a one-man advantage in the match. This was a great opportunity for the Claret-and-Cobalt.

But just nine minutes later, in first-half stoppage time things went south for RSL.

Facing the best team in the MLS with a one-man advantage should have been a blessing that any team would dream of, especially one desperate for a win and three points in the standings.

But after a no call, Clint Mathis slammed the ball down and was given his second yellow card of the match, sending him to watch the rest of the match from the locker room.

RSL had their chances but could not capitalize.

“Sometimes goals don’t come,” defender Tony Beltran said following the tie. “The chances were there. Our forwards did a very good job of being in the right spots. We just got unlucky around the goal.”

The road for RSL does not get any easier.  As of Aug. 22, the Claret-and-Cobalt has an overall record of 7-8-6 and 27 total points.  There are 10 games left in the season and they are in dire need of three points to get back into the playoff hunt.

Five of the next 10 are on the road and RSL has not played stellar away from Rio Tinto. In fact, they’re just plain bad. As of Aug. 22, in the eleven road games they have played this season they have posted a 1-8-2 record.

One thing that RSL has on their side is history. They have done well in their last ten games averaging 12.5 points for the last three seasons, including last season when they were in the postseason for the first time in franchise history.  This position is something the RSL is used to.

“Well, you would think this team would feel like we’ve been here before,” coach Jason Kries stated. “It’s not a fresh, new thing to us, so hopefully there won’t be the anxiety that we had over some of the games down the stretch last year. I think we should be more confident and have a little bit more self-belief.”

RSL will try and extend their season as they take on Chivas USA on Aug. 26 at Rio Tinto Stadium.