Orlando City-Real Salt Lake Preview
A promising start to the season has turned disappointing for Real Salt Lake.
Looking to avoid a fifth consecutive defeat Saturday night, Salt Lake will also try again for its first-ever victory against visiting Orlando City SC.
RSL (1-4-1) opened the season with a 1-1 draw at Houston then beat Vancouver 1-0 the following week. Since then, though, Salt Lake has been outscored 12-3 while losing four in a row for the first time since 2017. It last dropped five straight during the club's inaugural 2005 campaign.
"We're going to have to continue making adjustments, continue to work hard," coach Mike Petke told Real Salt Lake's official website. "It's a long season."
Salt Lake will try to bounce back from a 1-0 loss at Seattle last Saturday. Nicolas Lodeiro's goal in the 18th minute was the difference as the RSL took a little bit of comfort knowing it showed improvement on the back-end following a 4-2 home defeat to FC Dallas one week earlier.
Also, Petke and his squad certainly are not ready to write the whole thing off because they are amid a rough stretch.
"There's no panic, there's no finger pointing," Petke said. "That's been clear, starting from the players. The players aren't concerned or anything. We just know that we have to be a bit more, a lot more, clinical in certain instances."
Perhaps that's why Salt Lake is 0-2-2 overall against Orlando City, which has won two of its last three matches overall.
City (2-2-2) enters this contest off a wild 4-3 home victory over Colorado last weekend. Nani scored twice, including the tiebreaker off a successful penalty-kick conversion in the 89th minute. Tesho Akindele added a goal with an assist as Orlando matched its goal total from the previous four league contests.
"It was a great game, a fantastic game for our team," Nani, who has those two goals and four assists on the season, told Orlando's official website. "So, we must continue to work hard and believe in each other because there's a lot of good things coming for us."
The key for Orlando, now, is to win back-to-back games for the first time since a six-game winning streak from March 31-May 6 last season.
"We look really dangerous," Orlando forward Chris Mueller, who has come off the bench in the last two games, said. "We have a lot of pieces, and a lot of ways we can hurt teams. I think if we just keep going, we're going to keep improving."
Orlando's Dom Dwyer did not score any of his three goals this season against Colorado, but has three in his last four games versus Real Salt Lake.
Updated April 11, 2019