Looking for their first road victory of the season and back-to-back wins for the first time in 2019, Real Salt Lake look to further their momentum Friday night when they face FC Cincinnati.
Real (2-1-4) snapped a four-match losing streak Saturday with a 2-1 home victory over Orlando City. Sam Johnson and Damir Kreilach staked RSL to a 2-0 lead by the 55th minute, but they had to sweat out a nervy finish after conceding on 81 minutes.
“Just because we won tonight does not give us any guarantees for next week,” coach Mike Petke said post-match. “I thought it was a gritty performance at times, I thought it was a very well-played performance by us sometimes, and I thought it was a bit nervous sometimes. But the end of the day, it’s three points.”
RSL have struggled to gain a sense of rhythm as they play six of their first nine matches on the road. They have just one point to show for their first four contests outside Rio Tinto Stadium, but after a stretch of three matches in which Real Salt Lake accrued four red cards, there may be a sense of cohesion defensively through continuity.
“I feel like that momentum is easier to build when you have a couple of home games in a row, and you win those and then you go for one away and then you come back home for two again,” midfielder Albert Rusnak told the Salt Lake Tribune. “It’s easier to kind of get points on board.”
FC Cincinnati (2-2-3) is in the midst of its first downturn as an MLS franchise, looking to end a three-match winless streak in this contest. FC Cincy dropped their second game in that stretch last Saturday, a 2-0 defeat at Los Angeles FC.
The scoreline was a bit harsh considering LAFC did not score their second until deep in second-half stoppage time, and FC Cincinnati coach Alan Koch was able to take positives from the match as right back Justin Hoyte acquitted himself well in his first MLS appearance and Caleb Stanko got his first start in the midfield.
“To come here and be right in the game right and until the end and to manage a lot with what LAFC threw at us, I’m very, very proud of the group,” Koch told the club’s official website. “We came here and created ample chances. We could’ve capitalized on one of those and obviously it’d be a different story right now. I’m proud of how the group got through a lot this week.”
This will be the seventh team FC Cincy have faced in their first eight games who made the MLS Cup playoffs last season. They are 1-1-1 at Nippert Stadium but scored only one goal in their last two home matches after a 3-0 victory in their home debut.
FC Cincinnati has gotten its eight goals from eight different players.
(Damir Kreilach photo courtesy Real Salt Lake official Twitter account)