Real Salt Lake's run of inconsistent form has been a point of frustration for the team and for its fans. That was particularly well-illustrated with the team's 1-0 loss to longtime rival LA Galaxy, where everyone was left disappointed by a poor first-half showing.

As much as that match provides a framework for looking at the team in a negative light, there are reasons to be optimistic — as difficult or cumbersome as that may sometimes be, especially after a loss.

But two players, while not difference-makers in the score that day, continued returns from injury, and that is something RSL supporters can look forward to — not in the long-term, but in the short-term, and maybe as soon as Saturday, when the team takes on the Vancouver Whitecaps.

Javier Morales's return

Key to any good midfield that's aiming to attack (like Real Salt Lake's) is one player who can elevate the game, taking it from a game of simple control to one with attacking precision and intent.

We can see this clearly during Wednesday's 1-0 loss to the LA Galaxy: During the first 55 minutes before Javier Morales entered the game, the team struggled to connect the forwards to the midfield, and as a result, there was not really any means to attack effectively, even if there was plenty of impetus.

With Morales, it was a completely different game. The more sinewy aspects of his game were on full display, bringing forwards into the game and pushing the midfield away from the halfway line and into the attack third of the field.

It will have been frustrating for RSL coach Jeff Cassar that, just as the team started to figure out the formation, one of the players that makes it tick was removed from availability through nothing more than bad luck. It wasn't injury-proneness or a result of a lack of fitness, but a simple concussion that removed Morales from three consecutive matches and has rendered him a substitute for another two.

It's easy to pass off Morales' absence as the cause of so much consternation for Real Salt Lake, but it's hard to deny that he's one of the most important figures on the team. It's equally easy to imagine (mostly because we've seen it so many times) that Real Salt Lake struggles without Kyle Beckerman.

Joao Plata's return

Having one very good season and one good season under his belt at Real Salt Lake, Joao Plata seems an unlikely candidate for the rescue of Real Salt Lake's season, but Wednesday saw him play with an understanding the club missed.

Twice, Plata found himself behind the defense only to have his final touch fail him, leaving him unable to take a shot. After being absent for more than three months, that's to be expected. The softness of touch to cradle a ball to the ground instead of have it fly off his foot will take a little bit of time to regain.

That sharpness, once Plata finds it, makes a difference in his game, but there's plenty of room to be encouraged by his general play. If he improves quickly and his fitness comes along for the ride, there's no way he's not back in a starting position by the end of June.

Matt Montgomery is the managing editor of RSL Soapbox.

Twitter: TheCrossbarRSL

Email: montgomery.matt@gmail.com