As Portland Timbers goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts helplessly watched Robbie Findley’s first half goal roll past his outstretched left arm into the net, he might have had a bit of déjà vu. After all, it was Findley who had done a similar thing to him in Leg 1 of the Western Conference final – ducking past his defender to get a poke on the ball and slot it home, near post style.
Sunday night’s goal would be the only one scored on the night, unlike the contribution he made at Rio Tinto Stadium two weeks prior which was one of four goals scored by Real Salt Lake on the night – the combination of which has propelled RSL to the MLS Cup final on December 7th against Sporting Kansas City. However, Findley’s contribution in this series cannot be overstated. Scoring 2 out of 5 goals in the series for his squad is an enormous boost. The effort came a bit unexpectedly as the former World Cup’er has struggled through some fitness issues and hadn’t found the back of the net since mid-August when he scored the last of his six regular season goals.
However, teammate Kyle Beckerman helps to put Findley’s play in perspective.
If Robbie is healthy, I’ve said it for years, he makes our team a different team. “He makes our team the team that we want to be and that we were in ’09 and that we built from ’08,” explained Beckerman. ”He brings a different dynamic. He’s unselfish. He’s such a team player, and Robbie is the type that he doesn’t need to score and he can have a great game. And when he scores as well he makes us a much better team.”
Findley deflected the direct praise himself, giving credit to the entire squad, “We’ve got experience and we’ve got guys that are willing to do the work all over the field.”
Of the winning goal, he also made sure to give credit to teammate Luis Gil who put the initial shot on frame, one which goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts was unable to handle, spilling the rebound right to the opportunistic Findley.
Findley felt that the key to the win was the whole approach to the match. “We play it like it’s a home game,” he said. “We come out with the same mentality and do all the right things.”
Findley and his teammates will hope that they can “do all the right things” in a tough environment in Kansas City on December 7th, and if they do, perhaps they can win it all and re-capture that special moment that they had in Seattle in 2009.