Jason Kreis wasn't happy with Real Salt Lake's offensive performance in its last game. The fact that the club emerged with a win to extend its unbeaten streak to three games, however, thrilled the second-year coach.
After picking up three points in what Kreis deemed a sub-par match, Salt Lake looks to remain undefeated at home when it hosts the last-place San Jose Earthquakes on Wednesday night.
Oddsmakers have Real slated as -150 favorites with the draw set at +225. San Jose is a +325 underdog.
Salt Lake forward Robbie Findley scored his third goal of the season in the 34th minute and goalkeeper Nick Rimando posted his third shutout of the year in a 1-0 victory over Chivas USA on Saturday. Salt Lake (4-5-3) got its first road win of the season despite managing only four shots to Chivas' eight.
"The difference for me is that when you maybe don't play well and you pick up a result it's a big leap for you mentally," Kreis said.
"For me, there's so much of this game, and these seasons, that's about mentality. To pick up a win like this will be a huge boost for us, not because we played particularly well tonight, but because we picked up a hard-fought win."
With that victory, Salt Lake improved to 2-0-1 after a 2-5-2 start - another encouraging sign for Kreis, whose club finished a Western Conference-worst 6-15-9 in his first season at the helm in 2007.
"I'm so, so proud of the guys. I said at halftime to them, 'Here we are again, in a spot that we've talked about multiple times this season, so let's show everybody, let's show ourselves that we've learned something.' And the guys did a fantastic job with that. They've taken a big step forward by showing that they're learning."
Salt Lake has a good shot at continuing its run with a return to Rice-Eccles Stadium, where the club is 3-0-3 to join Toronto FC as the only teams unbeaten at home.
Salt Lake's success on its home turf includes a 3-1 win over San Jose (3-7-1) on May 31. On the bench until the 45th minute of that game, Findley scored a goal in the 48th minute and assisted on Javier Morales' goal in the 60th as Salt Lake got its first win in five all-time matches with San Jose.
This is the first of four straight road games for San Jose, which is coming off a disheartening 3-0 loss to Los Angeles. The Earthquakes' next home game is July 12 against Colorado.
"The hope is that we come together on the road and get some results," goalkeeper Joe Cannon told the team's official Web site. "We have a ton of away games now. We're not at home for more than a month, so we can't put our heads down."
Earthquakes coach Frank Yallop is just as optimistic.
"I look at the whole picture," he said. "When you look over 11 games and how we've done I think we've played better than the points have showed. But in the end, in this league you've got to get points. That's the big thing.
"We've talked about it, and we still have a chance. We're not miles adrift from the top of the table, so there's something to shoot for, to try and get there by the end of the season."