SANDY — Real Salt Lake couldn’t have opened up its homestead much better than it did Saturday night, a 2-0 home win over rival Sporting Kansas City.
Score goals in abundance? Check.
Get the clean sheet? Double check.
Send off a heated rival empty-handed? Triple check.
So what could have gone wrong?
For starters, the home side from Utah dropped below the playoff line, falling to eighth place in the Western Conference midway through the regular season.
So what can Real Salt Lake do better? For starters, get back above that line — and it starts Wednesday night against Columbus Crew SC (8 p.m. MT, KMYU and KSL.com).
Because there’s no time like the present, and there’s no place like home, where RSL will be for four of the next seven matches.
"It's huge for us, to win our home games and maximize on the points," said RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando, fresh off another MLS All-Star selection. "I think if you ask us in the locker room, we’d say we want to be a little bit higher — even believe that we can be. But these games at home will be crucial, and we want to maximize on the points."
The Crew are just 5-11-2 on the season and riding a six-game winless streak after a 2-0 loss to Orlando City last weekend. RSL also owns the series advantage, 4-3-3 against Columbus.
Still, RSL plans to focus on itself and will likely rotate players with just three days since its last match, head coach Mike Petke confirmed after Tuesday's practice.
Still, three points at home is always the goal.
"Any time you have a home game, especially in a league like this, you have to count on and push for three points," Petke said. "They are so important, because of the difficulty in this league in playing on the road.
"We never look past the next game, but the next game is of the utmost importance."
After Wednesday, Real Salt Lake will travel briefly Saturday to play at San Jose, before hosting Philadelphia and Minnesota at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Columbus Crew (5-11-2, 17 points) vs. Real Salt Lake (7-8-2, 23 points)
When: Wednesday, July 3 at 8 p.m. MDT
Where: Rio Tinto Stadium