Real Salt Lake-Fire Preview

The Associated Press

Despite boasting the league's only undefeated record, Real Salt Lake has developed a troubling habit of conceding late goals.

Shoring up the club's late-match defense may not be overly challenging against a Chicago Fire squad playing without its top scorer.

Real Salt Lake looks to extend its regular-season unbeaten run to 13 on Saturday night when it visits Chicago, which will be without Quincy Amarikwa due to suspension.

RSL (3-0-5) has gone 5-0-7 in its past 12 regular-season matches, the second-longest undefeated stretch in club history behind an 18-match streak July 24, 2010-April 13, 2011. The club's last defeat in the regular season was a 2-1 loss to San Jose on Sept. 21.

However, Real Salt Lake wasn't entirely satisfied with a 2-all draw with Vancouver at home last Saturday, given that it conceded two goals after the 85th minute. RSL controlled most of the game after taking a 2-0 lead in the first nine minutes behind goals from Joao Plata and Alvaro Saborio.

In two of RSL's past three matches and three of its five draws this year, coach Jeff Cassar's club has surrendered the tying goal in the 90th minute or later.

"It's something we're going to have to look at, and just be more cognizant of recognizing danger," Cassar said. "I think we could've closed this game out relatively easily, but we made it hard on ourselves by giving the ball away."

Chicago (0-1-6) has tied an MLS record with six straight draws and may lack the scoring punch for a victory without Amarikwa.

Amarikwa scored the Fire's lone goal in a 1-all draw with New England on April 19, but was later ejected when he was charged with his second yellow card. He's scored or assisted on four of Chicago's last five goals and has four of the team's 10 goals this season.

Coach Frank Yallop, who said the team chose not to file an appeal, was pondering who to slide into Amarikwa's place.

"Juan Luis (Anangono) is probably a straight replacement (for Amarikwa) if you wanted to go with a forward," Yallop told the team's website. "I need to pick the right formation that's going to be effective against RSL. Not that you want to counteract that and play into their hands but we've got to make sure we're ready for that game."

Anangono's penalty kick was turned aside in the first minute of stoppage time after Mike Magee had a shot hit the post with 25 seconds left in regulation.

Magee, who scored 18 goals in 22 matches for Chicago in 2013, has just one goal this year.

Forward Robbie Findley continues to near a return for RSL following surgery on a torn right patella tendon in December, though there's still no definite timetable.

Chicago is 8-1-6 over its last 15 home matches without getting shut out.

These teams have played to draws in four of their last seven meetings, including a 1-all final at Salt Lake in last season's lone matchup. Amarikwa and Saborio scored.

What to Read Next