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Real Salt Lake-United Preview

Jun 4, 2010 - 5:04 PM By MATT BEARDMORE STATS Writer

Real Salt Lake (6-3-1) at D.C. (2-8-0), 7:30 p.m. EDT

Real Salt Lake has been unbeatable at home. Before returning for three straight matches at Rio Tinto Stadium, the defending MLS Cup champs will try to keep that momentum going on the road.

RSL looks to extend its franchise-best winning streak to six on Saturday when it faces an improving D.C. United club that won a matchup between the teams earlier this week.

A 4-1 victory over visiting Kansas City on Saturday set a franchise record for consecutive wins and extended Real Salt Lake's unbeaten streak to 18 in Utah.

"Nobody wants to come here and play," forward Will Johnson told RSL's official website. "It's a special place to play. This building has been really, really good to us."

The same cannot be said of RFK Stadium, where Real Salt Lake (6-3-1) is 0-3-2 since it joined the league in 2005.

RSL, which has been outscored 12-4 in five league matches in the nation's capital, fell 2-1 in overtime to host D.C. United on Wednesday in a play-in game for the U.S. Open Cup. After Johnson tied the score in the 81st minute on a penalty kick, midfielder Andy Najar found the back of the net in the 107th minute to help D.C. advance to the round of 16.

"That was a great play on the offensive part of the field to make a difference in the game," said D.C. coach Curt Onalfo, who was suspended for the game for getting red-carded in the club's previous U.S. Open Cup match. "He's a 17-year-old with a lot of energy coming in and playing against guys who have been playing 110 minutes prior to that. We waited to keep that sub as long as we could and it ended up being the difference."

Najar was a difference maker in United's last match, scoring his first MLS goal in the 26th minute of Saturday's 3-2 win over visiting Chivas USA. Carey Talley's penalty kick in stoppage time gave D.C. United (2-8-0) the win after being shut out in its previous three matches.

Combined with Wednesday's victory over RSL and a 3-2 win over AC Milan on May 26 in an international friendly, D.C. is gaining confidence.

"I think the AC Milan win let us know that we can beat anyone," defender Jordan Graye said Wednesday. "Whether they were playing hard or not, it was still AC Milan, and we came out with the mindset that we can beat anyone we play.

"We took that (mindset) into the Chivas game and tonight's match, and it has paid off. Now we need to do it all over again on Saturday."

Real Salt Lake, which has a league-best 21 goals, has scored seven times in five road games.

RSL leads the all-time series 4-4-2.