clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Does RSL's form heading into Playoffs matter?

There is plenty of worry among the Real Salt Lake faithful that RSL are on a downhill slide heading into the Playoffs. Based on history, that might be a good thing.

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Most Real Salt Lake fans have made it clear that they believe Real Salt Lake is in horrible form heading into the MLS Playoffs (assuming RSL takes care of business and gets a point over the next few games) and that they are doomed to failure based on what they see over the past couple weeks. There is some valid concern there, to be sure. Nobody should be satisfied losing four of their last seven MLS games, let alone the loss against Chivas USA, a team that has little morale left after finding out that their franchise will cease to exist after this season.

Based on Real Salt Lake's history, however, I would not recommend losing any sleep over it.

Let's look at 2010. This was arguably Real Salt Lake's best regular season in which they never lost at home and set records for their defensive dominance. They finished the season with seven wins and six ties. No losses. Real Salt Lake fans, myself included, were expecting another MLS Cup celebration. That came to a quick end when RSL got eliminated in the first round against FC Dallas.

In both years that Real Salt Lake got to MLS Cup, 2009 and 2014 respectively, Real Salt Lake "backed into" the Playoffs with two wins, three losses, and two ties over the last seven games of the year. Obviously, RSL was able to rally at the right time and make deep runs, one of which resulted in a trophy.

None of this is to say that there should be no concern. Real Salt Lake should be winning the games that are, for lack of a better term, very winnable.

You can make the argument that 2009 was an anomaly, but that might be part of the point I'm trying to make. MLS by way of its structure and parity is as unpredictable as any league in the world. What should help us remain optimistic is that Real Salt Lake has a veteran team that knows how to bounce back.  I am confident they will bounce back at the right time. If anything, based on years past, we can all agree that it is hard to predict what will happen based on the final stretch of the regular season.