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Damir Kreilach is 'positive mad' as RSL looks to end 4-game skid

Real Salt Lake midfielder Damir Kreilach (8) heads butts FC Dallas midfielder Carlos Gruezo (7) in Sandy on Saturday, March 30, 2019. Kreilach was ejected.
Real Salt Lake midfielder Damir Kreilach (8) heads butts FC Dallas midfielder Carlos Gruezo (7) in Sandy on Saturday, March 30, 2019. Kreilach was ejected.

SANDY — Damir Kreilach is mad.

He’s mad Real Salt Lake’s lost four straight games. He’s mad that his reaction and resulting red card against FC Dallas two weeks ago contributed to that losing streak. He’s mad that he wasn’t available last week against Seattle because of that red card.

Don’t worry though, Kreilach characterizes it all as “positive mad.”

“We are very excited. As soon as possible we want to play a new game and that day is tomorrow,” said Kreilach. “Tomorrow starts a new season for us.”

Real Salt Lake rolls into Saturday’s game against visiting Orlando FC (7 p.m., KMYU) on a four-game losing skid. In three of those four games RSL finished with less than 10 men because of red cards.

Kreilach said this weekend is a chance for Real Salt Lake to put its rocky start to 2019 in the rearview mirror.

“We have to be smarter, and we will do this,” he said.

With just four points through six games, RSL is off to its second-slowest start in franchise history equaling the four points the 2007 team collected through four games with an 0-2-4 record. That was the year Jason Kreis took over as head coach four games into the season, with the club not winning its first game until June 23.

Real Salt Lake endured a four-game losing skid that season just like this year. It’s only happened four teams since the club’s 2005 expansion season (2007, 2011, 2017, 2019).

RSL’s longest two losing streaks — five- and 10-game skids — occurred in 2005, and a disciplined effort will be necessary on Saturday to avoid another five-game losing streak.

Orlando upgraded its roster this offseason, and through six games owns a 2-2-2 record and is 1-0-1 away from home.

“They’re comfortable in their three-back system with the ball, pushing wing backs high and wide. They’re huge service team, and they’ve got guys like Dom Dwyer, Nani and (Sasha) Kljestan who can change the game,” said RSL coach Mike Petke.

“I think they’ve unlucky in a lot of goals they’ve given up to be quite honest with you.”

It’s a similar feeling to how Real Salt Lake feels about its season thus far.

A good start will be key against Orlando. RSL has conceded the opening goal in three of its four losses, including early goals the past two games against FC Dallas and Seattle.

“When you’re at home you have to try to set the tone, and that’s what we’ve talked to the players about and these players understand that,” said Petke.

Petke could have additional lineup choices to make this week after Justen Glad and Joao Plata played a game with the Real Monarchs last week and trained all this week.

Following Saturday’s match, RSL heads out for two more road games to cap what it always knew would be a brutal start to the season with just of nine games at home.

As far as Kreilach is concerned, the season starts now.