Remember the good ole days when Real Salt Lake were just a goal away from reaching the Club World Cup and forever being branded as the most successful MLS club in history? Remember when the Rio Tinto was not just a stadium full of equal opportunity for both sides, but a 20,000-seat Hell-hole that was destined to only produce one result?
As the rest of MLS tries to forget, RSL fans are trying to hold on to the few memories they still have and use their detective skills to figure out what has been the cause of the team's recent struggles.
Here is a cheat sheet of how to get RSL out of this stunning slump.
Offense was never really a dominating part of RSL’s game, even when the team was nearly on top of the continent, but their recent attack would not scare a self-conscious turtle to get back in its shell. The loss of Javier Morales certainly has played a significant role in RSL’s recent struggles, but Mondaini cannot be solely blamed for the club’s failure.
DP Alvaro Saborio and Espindola have failed to supply constant pressure on opponent defenses and are playing too passive in the attacking third. Kyle Beckerman will also need to become more aggressive in 50-50 duels to produce positive counterattacks. This trio especially needs to start playing to their potential if RSL has any hope of getting out of the gutter.
Fans will also need to help get this club back on the right track.
Losing in the CCL final was heartbreaking, but that doesn’t mean the Salt City supporters can mourn the next couple of months. With the Western Conference stacked from head-to-toe this year, RSL needs avid fan support for every tough home game if they have any chance at capturing the Supporter’s Shield. Losing home games could be the difference between winning the Shield and missing the playoffs for RSL.
Overall, RSL fans and players just need to relax. Panicking this early in the season will not make their road to glory any easier.
And trust me, that road is not a walk in the park as it is.
The club will lose MLS All-Star Nick Rimando, DP Alvaro Saborio, Will Johnson and Arturo Alvarez to Gold Cup duty next month in a difficult part of the schedule. If the offense gets back on its feet, and the fans finally regain their balance after coming back down to earth, maybe the tide will reverse as quickly as it did last month.