Shield, all-time records on line in RSL finale
LEHI, Utah – Real Salt Lake hit the road to Colorado on Friday afternoon with a lot on their mind, nothing bigger than a shot at the first Supporters’ Shield in franchise history.
“First and foremost we need to handle our own business, and then we can watch everything else unfold,” coach Jason Kreis said. “So we’ll be ultra-focused on getting the win there.”
RSL’s hopes hinge on both their result and that of the league-leading LA Galaxy, who host FC Dallas on Sunday in the season finale at the Home Depot Center. The Galaxy hold a one-point edge heading into the final weekend, meaning RSL need a win and some help to take the Shield outright.
“We’ve got a chance to win the Supporters’ Shield,” defender Chris Wingert said. “[Colorado] had a good win last week against LA and are going to want to kick our butt and spoil the chances that we have to win the Supporters’ Shield. Both teams are going to come real hard, and it should be exciting.”
But although the Shield hangs in the balance, RSL can already hang their hat on a slew of records smashed and others ready to fall in the season finale.
The defending MLS Cup champs have achieved the most home points in a season in MLS history (37), as well as fewest goals allowed at home (seven) and biggest home goal-differential (+24) - one better than the mark it set last season at Rio Tinto Stadium.
The most likely record to claim on Saturday is fewest goals allowed in a season, set at 23 by the Houston Dynamo during an MLS Cup run in 2007. RSL have allowed 18 thus far, and seem primed to set the record, barring a complete collapse.
They could also set the record for fewest road goals allowed in a season, but they’ll need a shutout to set it outright. They’ve allowed 11 thus far, while D.C. United set the mark at 12 in 2007.
A blanking would leave the Utah squad one clean sheet shy of the 2000 Kansas City Wizards' single-season shutout mark of 17 - a squad that, like the 2007 Dynamo, won the MLS Cup.
And unless RSL lose to Colorado by three goals or more, the overall goal-differential mark will likely be theirs for the taking. They’re at plus-25 heading into the finale, with a record of plus-22 set by both the 2005 San Jose Eaarthquakes and D.C. United in 2007.
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