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Revolution-Real Salt Lake Preview

The Associated Press

Real Salt Lake traditionally plays at home during Independence Day weekend.

That tradition, unfortunately, hasn't included many victories.

Real Salt Lake is desperate to end a five-game winless slide Friday night when it meets a New England Revolution team that has dropped three straight.

Real Salt Lake (6-3-7) will play on its home pitch for the 10th time during the July 4 weekend. The club has won once, lost once and drawn the other matches.

Any festivities aren't on coach Jeff Cassar's mind with his team mired in an 0-3-2 slide.

"It's a home game. It's July 4," Cassar told the league's official website. "We need three points without a doubt. I would say every game now is extremely important. But anytime you're playing at home, it's key."

Two of RSL's best players - midfielder Kyle Beckerman and goalkeeper Nick Rimando - will be back from the World Cup following the United States' loss to Belgium on Tuesday. Their coach doesn't expect to use either one Friday.

"When they come back in town, I'll talk to them and see where they're at," Cassar said. "But I imagine we're going to have to be smart and give them a little bit of time off. There's a lot more games left in the season."

Jeff Attinella started in goal for Rimando in Saturday's 1-0 loss at Chivas USA. RSL was forced to play with 10 men for the second straight game after Luke Mulholland was sent off in the ninth minute for a dangerous challenge. Mulholland is suspended for Friday.

Salt Lake has lost consecutive games for the first time, falling 3-1 to Portland on June 7 when Tony Beltran was sent off in the 54th minute. Beltran will return from suspension for this match.

"We've lost three games this year - two of them, we've given up red cards," Cassar said. "It's hard enough to win with 11, but with 10, it's very hard."

RSL has outscored New England 16-6 in going 5-0-1 in the last six meetings. The Revolution (7-6-2) have been outscored 18-5 during an 0-4-1 winless run in their last five trips to Utah.

New England's losing streak continued Saturday with a 3-1 home defeat to Philadelphia. Saer Sene's second-half goal ended the club's 266-minute scoreless streak.

"You can say it was an off night, you can say it wasn't our night but that's the easy way out," coach Jay Heaps said.

It's unclear if New England will have Jerry Bengtson available. The forward started all three of Honduras' matches in the World Cup, with its last one June 25.

The Revolution are trying to remain positive entering a busy stretch in which they have six league matches and a U.S. Open Cup match this month.

"This team, we cannot forget is growing, we have a lot of new players," defender Jose Goncalves said. "We are playing now to stay up with the league and that's what we are doing every week. It's a matter of time and we are progressing."

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