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RSL stays as hot as the weather

SANDY, Utah (ABC 4 Sports) - Real Salt Lake will try to extend its franchise record winning streak to eight straight when they host the Philadelphia Union Wednesday night.
SANDY, Utah (ABC 4 Sports) - So, what is hotter, the weather or Real Salt Lake?

"That's tough," laughed forward Robbie Findley.

"Great question," added defender Nat Borchers. "I think both are pretty hot."

While the record-breaking temperatures are heating up Utah, Real Salt Lake has set Major League Soccer on fire.

Including U.S. Open Cup competition, RSL has won seven straight matches headed into tomorrow night's showdown with Philadelphia. Real is 10-1-1 in its last 12 games and owns the best record in all of MLS. That's not hot -- that's scorching.

"We've been doing well," said Findley. "We've been getting the results that we want and that we need. We just have to continue that streak that we have going."

"It's important for us to stay hungry," Borchers said. "We can't look past anybody. Everything is there for us, though. This is an exciting time to be a part of Real Salt Lake."

While RSL cruised through June, the month of July is going to be tougher. With matches against Philadelphia, FC Dallas, Sporting Kansas City and the New York Red Bulls, RSL will be tested against some of the elite teams in MLS.

Plus, they'll have to do it without four of its best players, Kyle Beckerman, Nick Rimando, Tony Beltran and Alvaro Saborio, all of whom were called up for Gold Cup duty.

"They're certainly important players for us," said head coach Jason Kreis. "But the next guy is ready and chomping at the bit to get in there an prove something."

RSL's depth is a big reason why the team has had so much success this season. 24 different players have made starts, and 11 different players have scored goals. That depth will be put to the test this month.

"A lot of these young guys that have played well have gotten to play with some of our veterans which makes it easier when they're in there," said midfielder Ned Grabavoy. "We're going to have four or five new faces in some games with those guys gone. Hopefully we don't pick up any serious injuries and stay somewhat healthy."

One of the young guys will be returning to RSL after missing the last month. Luis Gil is back from playing with the United States under-20 team in Turkey. 

"It's pretty easy to get back into it," Gil said. "I got to take it step by step and not force myself into the situation. I had a couple games in Turkey within 8 or 9 days, so I have to rest up and be prepared for the next few games."

In addition to the depth, the team's chemistry in the locker room has been a key factor in RSL's run to the top of the table.

"The chemistry on this team right now is as good or better than I've ever experienced in my seven years here," said Kreis. "The locker room is terrific. The young players are extremely supportive and working extremely hard to push the level in every training session. The older players are very accepting of the younger players."

"When we go through a tough stretch, and there will be one this season," added Grabavoy. "It's going to be that togetherness that keeps us going to finish off the year strong."

Real Salt Lake and Philadelphia will play at 8:00 p.m. Wednesday night on CW30.
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