RSL likely to beat best-ever away record after strong start

USA TODAY Sports

With Real Salt Lake coming off a bit of a road streak — to this point, only five of our 13 matches have been at home — a home stand will be taking shape.

Indeed, with only 38 percent of the matches having been at home, RSL is the most having-been-away of all MLS sides at this point. New York Red Bulls, with 42 percent home matches, come close.

We could harp on about the reasons for this — and I think we can point to typical rough weather in the early goings of MLS seasons for a pretty good one — but it really would be more interesting to take a look at the effects.

With 10 points from 8 away matches — 1.25 points per match — Jason Kreis's side is already very much in the range of the best away records the club's had. Slightly surprisingly, the very strong 2010 regular season doesn't lead the way. That feat belongs to the 2012 season, when RSL picked up 1.29 points per road game.

To be at this level after the first two months of the season shouldn't go unnoticed. This was a season that saw key players out with injury to start and the integration of new players into the setup, and it should be noted there were plenty of both.

Even more notably and perhaps explanatory of the shift, RSL has won half as many away matches as last season, leaving the club on pace to eke through the record. Should the record improve as the season goes on and squad cohesion is reached, it will be no mean feat to break past.

There are inherent risks, of course. Squad cohesion could dissipate after early success — that's not an untold story — or complacency could rise, or injuries could decimate the depth. To worry intensively about injuries before they happen is a fool's errand, though, and it's best to simply plan for the worst case. Squad cohesion is a tricky thing, but if the Kreis era is anything to go on, it's not likely to emerge as an issue. With the squad likely hit by international absences in the summer, the depth — and depth with a propensity for playing well on the road, at that — will prove valuable.

It's not exactly show-stopping stuff, 1.25 points per away match, but in MLS, away wins are hard to come by. Even the best clubs find themselves netting in the range of 1.5 to 1.6 points per away match, for comparison.

With the rest of the season ahead and a substantial home stand in plain view, Real Salt Lake will be hopeful to push on and prepare for the busy season ahead.

Real Salt Lake historical record

Year Points Away Games Games Home Away APts ppg appg hppg
2005 20 16 32 5; 8; 3 0; 14; 2 (2) 2 0.63 0.13 1.13
2006 39 16 32 6; 4; 6 4; 9; 3 (15) 15 1.22 0.94 1.50
2007 27 15 30 4; 7; 4 2; 8; 5 (11) 11 0.90 0.73 1.07
2008 40 15 30 8; 1; 6 2; 9; 4 (10) 10 1.33 0.67 2.00
2009 40 15 30 9; 1; 5 2; 11; 12 (18) 18 1.33 1.20 1.47
2010 56 15 30 11; 0; 4 4; 4; 7 (19) 19 1.87 1.27 2.47
2011 53 17 34 10; 3; 4 5; 8; 4 (19) 19 1.56 1.12 2.00
2012 57 17 34 11; 4; 2 6; 7; 4 (22) 22 1.68 1.29 2.06
2013 (2013-05-22) 20 8 13 3; 1; 1 3; 4; 1 (10) 10 1.54 1.25 2.00
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