Minnesota tries to stop Real Salt Lake scoring machine
SANDY, Utah -- Can any team stop Real Salt Lake's high-powered offense?
That's a question other MLS teams are asking with RSL picking apart opposing defenses during the club's recent three-game winning streak. Salt Lake will try to make it four in a row when it hosts Minnesota United FC on Saturday.
RSL (13-10-5, 44 points) became the first team in MLS history to score at least six goals in back-to-back games after posting a 6-0 win over the Colorado Rapids on Aug. 25 and a 6-2 win over the LA Galaxy on Sept. 1.
If Salt Lake scores four or more goals against Minnesota, it would set a league record for most goals during a three-game stretch. The Galaxy set the current record of 15 goals in 1998.
The one-two punch of Damir Kreilach and Albert Rusnak is one reason why Salt Lake's offense has become so explosive. Kreilach and Rusnak have scored 10 goals apiece for RSL this season.
Jefferson Savarino has also been a critical catalyst in the offense in the last three games, with three goals and four assists during that span.
In the big picture, RSL coach Mike Petke is more concerned with where his team sits in the Western Conference standings than how much they score per game.
"Does it get us in the playoffs?" Petke told reporters after RSL set the back-to-back match scoring record.
Minnesota almost needs a miracle to get into the playoff picture at this point. The Loons (9-16-12) are 12 points behind sixth-place Seattle with seven matches left. Getting positive results at this point in the season have been a struggle.
A 2-1 loss to D.C. United on Wednesday extended Minnesota's winless streak to a franchise-record six games. It also marked the club's third consecutive loss.
Angelo Rodríguez scored his first goal for Minnesota in his fifth MLS appearance. Rodríguez's goal snapped a 233-minute scoring drought -- the third longest in the club's two seasons in the league.
"Confidence breeds with strikers when they get a goal," Loons coach Adrian Heath told MLSSoccer.com. "Everybody knows that goals come in bunches for strikers. Hopefully now this will set him off on a little run."
The trip to Utah finishes a five-game road swing for the Loons.
Minnesota and Salt Lake met previously this season. The Loons took a 3-2 win on July 14 at home behind a goal and two assists from Darwin Quintero.
Updated September 14, 2018