|Major League Soccer|
· Int'l Soccer
Struggling RSL, New England meet at Rio Tinto
Sandy, UT (SportsNetwork.com) - A pair of struggling sides will meet at Rio Tinto Stadium on Friday as Real Salt Lake plays host to the New England Revolution.
Salt Lake has lost three of its last four games to slip into a tie with the Colorado Rapids for second place in the Western Conference.
The Claret and Cobalt are now 10 points back of first-place Seattle Sounders FC, a deficit that places added pressure on Jeff Cassar's men to claim maximum points on Friday.
"It's a home game. It's July 4," Cassar told reporters. "We need three points without a doubt. I would say every game now is extremely important. But anytime you're playing at home, it's key."
Salt Lake has been hampered by the absences of Kyle Beckerman and Nick Rimando, who have been on international duty with the United States national team for over a month. Without the duo, the Claret and Cobalt have produced a less-than-stellar 1-3-2 record.
The United States was ousted from the World Cup by Belgium on Tuesday, but don't expect to see Beckerman and Rimando return to action with RSL on Friday.
"When they come back in town, I'll talk to them and see where they're at," Cassar continued. "But I imagine we're going to have to be smart and give them a little bit of time off. ... There's a lot more games left in the season."
New England also enters Friday's clash desperate for points.
The Revs were flying on a run of six wins in seven games, but they have lost their last three outings to drop to third place in the Eastern Conference.
New England's last contest ended in a disappointing 3-1 home defeat to the Philadelphia Union, a second consecutive home loss.
"You can say it's an off night, you can say it wasn't our night," Revs head coach Jay Heaps said after the match. "But that's the easy way out."
Goals were plentiful for the Revs during an impressive stretch that saw them win five straight by a combined score of 16-5, but the well appeared to run dry last time out as Teal Bunbury, Diego Fagundez and Patrick Mullins all spurned chances inside the opening 15 minutes.
"I thought we should've taken our chances in the first 15 minutes," Heaps said. "Then I thought we were second-best, quite frankly. So the bad goal was kind of the final straw of that first half. I don't think we were good enough all the way through, so that goal really hurt us."
07/03 17:10:05 ET
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