for this game

Sporting eyes better start against RSL

Aug 2, 2011 - 7:58 PM Kansas City, KS (Sports Network) - Real Salt Lake had its seven-game unbeaten streak snapped by the Columbus Crew on Saturday, preventing the club from moving further up the Western Conference table.

But the good news for Jason Kreis' side is the fact that after the 2-0 defeat the club has the opportunity to quickly atone for the loss on Wednesday at Livestrong Sporting Park against Sporting Kansas City, which carries a lengthy unbeaten streak of its own into the contest.

Sporting is unbeaten in its last 13 games following a late equalizer from Teal Bunbury, which gave the team a 1-1 draw with the New England Revolution this past weekend.

And while the two sides ended up with different results on Saturday, both had the same problem in the first half.

Sporting got off to a slow start and trailed the Revs 1-0 at halftime, while RSL yielded two goals in the opening 10 minutes of its defeat.

"We were prepared, but I just think [Columbus] came out with a game plan and kind of caught us napping a couple of times, and in that 20-minute span they were able to take over the game by creating chance after chance," said Salt Lake midfielder Andy Williams of his team's start to the match. "After that things kind of adjusted, but we just couldn't get that first goal."

Things ended better for Sporting with Bunbury salvaging a draw with his late goal, but midfielder Graham Zusi knows that in order to extend the unbeaten streak the team is currently riding, they must be better in the first 45 minutes.

"I think we need to come out extremely focused in the first half," Zusi said. "It's not a good habit to get into to go down a goal early. Honestly, it's been an issue with us for a while now. We need to come out, realize we're at home, and we need to take it to the opposing team, especially in the first half. We need to let them know it's going to be a long game for them, so we can control the flow of the game."

Coach Peter Vermes has seen his team overcome a number of deficits to gain points this season, while the club has also started climbing up the table in the Eastern Conference and sits only seven points from the top.

"If you look back where we were and where we are, it's a big difference," said Vermes. "We're in the hunt right now. We're going to keep going after it."