SANDY, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – There are still four games left in the regular season, but just seeing their name above the playoff line has given Real Salt Lake a boost.
“Yes, absolutely,” said defender Tony Beltran. “Hopefully that’s the case October 25th. It’s nice to have it right now. This is the first time all year we’ve been above the red line, so it’s nice from that aspect.”
“Sports and life in general is so mental,” added head coach Mike Petke. “Just to see that, it’s a lift and it’s a boost. It’s a credit to all the work that they’ve done to get there. But, they know as well as I do, that’s just for this week.”
Thanks to their 2-1 victory over Portland this past weekend, RSL vaulted up in the standings to the 6th seed with 38 points, But Houston and FC Dallas also have 38 points, and both have played two fewer games. So, RSL is going to need help from other teams down the stretch.
“It’s definitely an advantage for them,” Petke said. “But it’s what they do with those games. Hopefully they’re feeling a little pressure.”
“It plays into the equation, obviously, because they have more opportunities to get points than us,” said Beltran. “But we’re going to have to handle our business, and hopefully some results go our way.”
Real is playing it’s best soccer when it counts the most. Since July 4th, Real Salt Lake is 6-2-3, and the players are giving credit to their head coach.
“We needed to have a fire lit underneath us,” Beltran said. “We needed a belief back in the locker room, and Mike has given us that.”
“It was building on a weekly basis in practice,” said Petke. “At times in the beginning it didn’t always show on the field. But it has taken off a bit in the last month and a half.”
RSL hosts Seattle on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at Rio Tinto Stadium.