Toronto, ON (Sports Network) - Toronto FC will attempt to extend its unbeaten
run in league play to four games when it welcomes Real Salt Lake to BMO Field
The Reds have taken five points from their last three contests, a stretch that
was highlighted by a come-from-behind victory at D.C. United on June 15
followed by a scoreless draw with the Houston Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium.
The road point against Houston marked Toronto's first clean sheet of the
season, a result that head coach Ryan Nelsen hopes will spark a solid run of
form for the Canadian club.
"I think with our performances over the course of the season, we should have
had four or five clean sheets by now," Nelsen told MLSsoccer.com. "I think we
have been putting in pretty good defensive performances and nobody has really
run over the top of us in any game. However, those performances have to result
in points and we have to turn them into product.
"I think the guys can really grow from this result. They have always had
belief, but it is good that their belief and their performances are now
turning into points."
While Toronto's unbeaten run still only leaves the club second from bottom in
the Eastern Conference on 12 points, Real Salt Lake's five straight matches
without defeat has catapulted the Claret and Cobalt into a tie with the
Portland Timbers for the top spot in the West on 30 points apiece.
Salt Lake is coming off of a four-game homestand from which it managed 10
points, scoring nine goals while conceding just two over that stretch.
Kyle Beckerman played a starring role in RSL's most recent outing, a 2-0
defeat of Seattle Sounders FC. Not only did the 31-year-old produce the
opening goal of the match, but he did the little things to help give Real Salt
Lake the edge.
"He won everything," defender Nat Borchers told reporters after the win. "He
was on the right side winning balls; he was on the left side winning balls. He
was always in the right spots and always composed on the ball. When you have a
guy like that, a leader like that who brings his 'A' game, we're not going to
Beckerman has been a mainstay in the Real Salt Lake team since his arrival in
2007. The squad experienced something of an overhaul during the offseason, but
Beckerman's leadership has allowed for the continuity necessary for RSL to
climb to the top of the Supporters' Shield table.
"I think the foundation has been there," Beckerman said. "We had to put in a
lot of hard work, and the coaches have to do a heck of a job laying a
"I think the biggest thing about that is having a winning mentality since
2007, when we turned it around. We just continue to try to build off that
foundation. Whether we bring in new players, young players, old players - I
think when the guys see what we've done in the past couple of years, they want
to buy into this. When we bring in new guys, it's easy to integrate them to
what we're about here."
The Sports Network