Sandy, UT (SportsNetwork.com) - Real Salt Lake will square off with the Los Angeles Galaxy for the second time in five days on Thursday at Rio Tinto Stadium in the second leg of their Western Conference semifinal series.
RSL enters Thursday's contest down 1-0 after losing in Los Angeles to a Sean Franklin goal. But Salt Lake head coach Jason Kreis thinks the quick turnaround will benefit his team.
The Claret and Cobalt had 11 days off between its final regular season match and the first leg against the Galaxy, and Kreis wasn't surprised that his side struggled a bit in the first leg.
"This is the third or fourth time this season where we've had more than 10 days in between matches," Kreis said. "It causes some difficulties just with our rhythm and our flow. Especially in our possession."
Those issues were evident in the first match on Sunday, and that result only continued a trend of trouble for RSL when having too much time off.
Since the beginning of September, Salt Lake has had gaps of 14 days, eight days, 14 days and 11 days between games, with the club posting a mark of 0-3-1 in those matches.
On the flip side, the team is 8-2-3 in games with four or fewer days of rest in all competitions.
Kreis has said that being down 1-0 really won't change the mentality of his side going into the game, but he acknowledged that there is a little different feeling going into this match.
"When you're in the middle of the season, you feel like even if things go really wrong, you've got some time to fix it," Kreis said. "You get to the end of the season and you know if things go really wrong, your season's over. And I don't want it to be over. I've had a really enjoyable time this year and I'd like to press on for a few more weeks."
The Galaxy would like to bring an end to that run for Salt Lake, and in the process, press on toward claiming a third successive MLS Cup.
Los Angeles was clearly the better side in the first leg, but was only able to come away with a one-goal advantage.
Having a lead is important, yet defender Omar Gonzalez knows that his side is in for a real battle on Thursday and that they must come prepared to put in a complete performance.
"We're not going in there overconfident. We're going in there to put our heads down and put in some good, hard work, because that's what it's going to take," Gonzalez said.
The Galaxy has won three of the first four games between the teams this season - including Sunday's first leg - and forward Landon Donovan feels like his team is in a great position to get the necessary result on Thursday and advance to the Western Conference final.
"We went [to Salt Lake City] twice this year with less than our full team," Donovan said following LA's 1-0 victory on Sunday. "One game we won, 2-0, and one game was 1-1 until the 84th minute or so [as RSL scored two late goals for a 3-1 victory]. We're very confident. We go there with a full team, our team's very fit now, we're well rested, we're healthy, and we like our chances."