Sun, 21 Apr 2019

SANDY, Utah -- Must-win mode has arrived for Real Salt Lake.

The Utah club enters its regular-season home finale against the New England Revolution on Thursday in desperate need of a victory.

Only one point separates RSL from the Los Angeles Galaxy in the race to lock down the final MLS Cup playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Salt Lake (13-12-7, 46 points) has the edge for now, but it can't afford to drop another home match after losing to Portland 4-1 on Oct. 6.

RSL appeared to be on track for at least getting a draw after Jefferson Savarino scored a 55th-minute equalizer. It quickly fell apart for Salt Lake, though, when Sebastian Blanco scored twice in a three-minute span to put the match out of reach.

The loss to the Timbers snapped a 14-game home unbeaten streak. It also extended RSL's current winless run to four matches.

A rematch with Portland awaits Sunday. Salt Lake needs points -- potentially in both matches -- to clinch a playoff spot.

"We're going to see what we're made of now," Real Salt Lake coach Mike Petke said. "From me, the coaching staff and straight down to the players. It's going to be two very tough games."

Pride is all that's on the line for New England at this point. The Revolution (9-12-11, 38 points) have been eliminated from postseason contention.

Cristian Penilla and Diego Fagundez scored four minutes apart early in the second half to power the 2-0 win over Orlando on Saturday. It was the first home victory, and just the second victory overall, for New England since the end of June.

The club has lost eight times and had four draws in its last 14 matches. Plenty of changes could be in store going into 2019 for the Revolution after sputtering so badly as the 2018 season progressed.

"We basically started our preseason tonight," New England coach Brad Friedel told after the match with Orlando. "That's what I told the players. Everyone's going to be playing for spots. The players that are with us are going to have to be very good -- mentally and physically tough -- and the ones that aren't, I wish them well when they're not with us."

The Revolution have won twice in Utah all time and have not beaten RSL since they begin playing at Rio Tinto Stadium.

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