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RSL looks to shut down Wondolowski to stay in the playoff hunt


SANDY — Real Salt Lake are looking to bounce back after a tough loss on the road against Montreal.

Fortunately for RSL, even though the club's six-game unbeaten streak has come to an end in a 3-1 loss to Montreal, it still has another crack at the last seed in the Western Conference in their next two home games.

RSL sits in the eighth spot in the Western standings, and the team could get a jump with a win over San Jose Earthquakes tomorrow night, knowing that the 'Quakes are four points ahead of RSL and holds the seventh seed in the conference.

"There's only eight more games left and they're all important, especially when a team is sitting right in front of you," said forward Brooks Lennon. "We just got to improve and get better as a team. We're still confident that we can still make a push, and it starts with San Jose."

A player to look out for on the Earthquakes' side is starting forward — and captain — Chris Wondolowski. The California native leads the team in almost every category with 10 goals, five assists, 54 shots and 20 shots on goal. RSL midfielders and defenders will have their hands full once he steps on the field, but they have a plan.

"It's going to be key of communication with the (midfielders)," said center back Justen Glad. "He likes to check in and lay it off. He's always around the box so we got to know where he is. Just being aware and passing him on is going to be huge."

The odds might be in RSL's favor, not only because the team is back at Rio Tinto Stadium, but also because it is 4-3-6 at home against San Jose, outscoring the 'Quakes 19-11. The Earthquakes has also been dealing with the coaching changes after the firing of Dominic Kinnear in late June and Chris Letitch replacing him.

Holding the No. 7 spot in the Western Conference, the Earthquakes have struggled on the road, losing five straight league games. San Jose did manage to get a point on Saturday by drawing 2-2 with the Philadelphia Union last Saturday. Not to mention, after the coaching changes, their formation has changed as well since their last meeting with RSL on June 24 when it ran a 4-4-2. Now the Quakes run a 3-5-2. With the formation changes RSL will need to rely on their outside backs the entire game.

"What he had in the past with Houston and the other teams is that they like to sit back," said Glad. "So we have to break them down and find a way to get the ball quickly and get that final chance to be clinical."

RSL will face the Earthquakes Wednesday at 8:00 p.m. at Rio Tinto Stadium.