RSL struggling to create chances, but difficult start to the season leaves us in a strong position

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

We're not creating chances, and that needs to change.

Real Salt Lake is third-to-last in chances created per game in our first five matches. According to Squawka data, We've seen only 7.6 chances - 6.6 key passes and one assist - per match.

And yeah, that's not good enough, but before we go panicking, let's talk about why.

We've faced, in our first five matches, four difficult sides, three of whom gave us real trouble. LA Galaxy twice pushed us into difficult situations where we resorted to lumping the ball forward to avoid getting hit by a goal. San Jose did the same thing, and while we were improved against Sporting Kansas City, we weren't at our most creative.

Not by a stretch. But this doesn't leave us any room to panic, still.

It is difficult to dispute that RSL's opening schedule did not do any favors to this metric. LA Galaxy came into the season very quickly, which is a necessity with Champions League action. We did exactly the same thing in 2011 by starting as strongly as possible. Now, obviously ours was the more successful run, but the basics in this regard were not so different. San Jose Earthquakes did precisely the same thing, and that's exactly what Sporting Kansas City did, too.

By pitting RSL against three Champions League teams in the first five games of the season (one of them twice), there was a disservice done. But is it one we should worry much about? It's hard to argue that it made a difference in our play. We were, at times, simply hanging on.

But we've gone undefeated in our first five games. The only team that wasn't predictably difficult opposition - Toronto FC - presented few challenges despite their rapid improvement over their 2013 campaign.

By facing these sides early in the season, we faced them at a difficult time for us, and there was real risk there for us. It could have sent us into a five-game spiral - these weren't easy games, but two or three losses in the set would not have helped our confidence - but instead it's imbued us with an assured quality that will see benefits down the stretch.

Our creativity needs to improve. There's no disputing that. But it's not without explanation, and in fact, our early successes leave us in a very strong position moving forward.

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