Real continues difficult stretch at Chicago
Bridgeview, IL (Sports Network) - Real Salt Lake coach Jason Kreis admitted he was "considering some rotation" ahead of Wednesday's match at the Chicago Fire as the Utah club plays the second of three matches in eight days.
"Playing three games (in a week) is very difficult on the players," Kreis said after a 2-1 win over the New England Revolution on Saturday.
Real (7-3-1) survived a similar stretch earlier this season with three wins in as many matches and takes a two-game winning streak to Toyota Park to face the Fire (3-2-2), who are also in a busy stretch.
After the mid-week match, RSL visits Seattle Sounders FC in a battle of two of the top teams in the Western Conference in Major League Soccer this weekend.
"It doesn't really let up on us this year," midfielder Kyle Beckerman said, "a lot of Saturday-Wednesday-Saturday games, so we just need to take care of our bodies, get in the cold tub and focus on the next ones."
Kreis has become familiar with the majority of his team so far as 16 different players have started a match this season and 14 of those have started at least five games.
Despite the early-season changes, due to injuries and suspensions, Real is off to the best start in its eight-year history after 11 games with 22 points. RSL is tied atop the West with the San Jose Earthquakes.
Kreis fielded his first-choice team last week for the first time all year, but Will Johnson was sent off, and will force at least one change against Chicago. At least Alvaro Saborio scored twice to give RSL the win over New England.
"I think the best thing about it is that we're going a goal down, or we're getting the leads taken away, but we don't stop believing," Beckerman said. "(Saturday) we went down a goal, but there wasn't any doubt in our mind that we were going to win this game."
Chicago picked up an important win last week as Marco Pappa scored in stoppage time of a 2-1 win at Chivas USA. Although Chivas is winless at home, it was an important three points for the Fire.
"It's a great win, it's great winning some these games like this, when they go your way," said Fire coach Frank Klopas. "Like I said it's a very good team and it's a huge win for us, now we go back home for a homestand the next couple of games."
With two road wins already, Chicago has accumulated seven points away from its home park. Now, it needs to continue to pick up points at home. The Fire have played just three home games to date, and are 1-1-1 in those matches.
Chicago, which played Chivas on Friday, also has three games in a short span - nine days - as it hosts Sporting Kansas City on Saturday.
But like Kreis, Klopas has found some alternative options as rookie defender Austin Berry filled in for Jalil Anibaba at center back against Chivas and was responsible for the Fire's first goal.
"It just gives everyone confidence that whoever we put out there at center back will get the job done," Berry said. "If that's the only game that I get in, I'm going to be the best teammate that I can be.
"I have full confidence in anybody we put on the field."
05/08 15:55:43 ET