Real Salt Lake boosts playoff chances with big win over New England

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The Western Conference outfit took a giant step toward the MLS playoffs with a dominant showing against an Eastern Conference foe

Real Salt Lake closed in on the MLS playoffs with a 4-1 thrashing of the New England Revolution on Thursday.

Goals from Nick Besler, Sebastian Saucedo, Corey Baird and Damir Kreilach saw RSL end a four-match winless run.

The victory consolidated the side's spot in sixth in the Western Conference, moving the club four points clear of the LA Galaxy, who hold a game in hand on RSL. 

The home side made a dream start at Rio Tinto Stadium, Besler sliding in at the back post to put away a Baird cross in the fourth minute.

Saucedo doubled the lead 10 minutes later from the edge of the area, before Baird found the bottom corner to make it 3-0 for Mike Petke's men before the half-hour mark. 

Teal Bunbury had a chance to bring New England back into the game in the 35th minute, but Nick Rimando made a strong one-handed save to deny the forward from the penalty spot.

RSL added a fourth through Kreilach five minutes into the second half and saw out a convincing win despite Kelyn Rowe's 69th-minute header for the visitors.

While the result leaves Salt Lake needing only a win Sunday against the Portland Timbers to be sure of their playoff place, the Revolution were already eliminated from the postseason. 

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But Revolution boss Brad Friedel didn't hold back on his side's showing in the loss, calling it "pathetic" on the club's local broadcast. 

"Pathetic. It really was," Friedel said. "I don’t care what kind of point you are in the season, whether you’re in the playoffs, out of the playoffs, whether it’s a preseason game. It’s an absolutely, completely unacceptable performance."

The Revolution will close out their season against the Montreal Impact on Oct. 28. 

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