SANDY, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – Real Salt Lake is not in control of its own playoff destiny, and they could have been had they at least earned a draw against Colorado on Sunday.
But a 1-0 loss to the Rapids puts RSL in the position of needing help to reach the postseason.
“We failed to get a point,” said RSL midfielder Albert Rusnak. “In the end, we didn’t have to win that game. We needed a point to be above the playoff line. So again this week, we’ve got to win and hope that something will happen in the other games.”
Real Salt Lake trails San Jose and FC Dallas by one point headed into the final weekend of the regular season. If RSL beats Sporting Kansas City Sunday at Rio Tinto Stadium, and San Jose loses or draws at home against Minnesota, and FC Dallas loses or draws at home against the L.A. Galaxy, RSL is in.
But if either San Jose or FC Dallas wins, it doesn’t matter what Real does against Sporting KC, their season would be over.
“We need the win,” said forward Brooks Lennon. “It’s a must-win game and we’re going into it like that. But yeah, we have to rely on some other results, which is unfortunate. But hopefully everything goes our way.”
Both the San Jose and FC Dallas games will be played at the exact same time as RSL’s contest against Sporting Kansas City. So will RSL’s players know what’s going on during the game?
“Sometimes these things can mess you up for your own game,” Rusnak said. “So, I think it’s best to win the game, then after the game come in the locker room and look at the other results.”
“I’ll know,” said head coach Mike Petke. “Well, I don’t know if I’ll know. Hopefully someone from the crowd yells it out to me because I don’t believe we’re allowed to be told. But I’ll relay our tactics based on…no, what am I saying? I’m thinking about the Colorado game. We have to win, so it doesn’t matter what’s happening in the other games. We have to win.”
RSL will be without defender Tony Beltran, who suffered an injury against Colorado which did not please Petke at all.
“Tony got injured in a crap game with a team that had no ambition,” Petke said. “He got injured on a crap play in a crap environment. I’m gutted for him because he’s really hurt, very badly hurt. That’s not the way it should have went down. So, we’re without Tony.
Real Salt Lake hosts Sporting KC at 2:00 Sunday afternoon at Rio Tinto Stadium.