Real Salt Lake escaped the first two weeks giving up just a single goal and that one coming from an unfortunate rebound that seemed to seek out the head of Lionard Pajoy giving DC United a game winner in week two.
However, that doesn’t mean that the defense has been stellar throughout, not according to head coach Jason Kreis. “We’ve given away two goals in three matches, that’s not a bad statistic to lean on,” said Kreis after a 1-1 draw at home against the Colorado Rapids. “When you look at it a little more closely, I think we’ve given up a few too many chances.”
Those chances seemed to come early and far too often at home against the Rapids. In particular, rookie DeShorn Brown used his speed and opportunism to get beyond the RSL backline, as he had four chances in the opening stanza.
Those chances left RSL scratching their heads and looking for an explanation.
“Could be a little bit of the altitude,” theorized Captain Kyle Beckerman. “We haven’t been here in a while. We’ve been in Arizona at sea level. We’ve been here, here and there, for a couple of days and sometimes it gets to the brain a little bit. You can’t breathe as well, your muscles get tighter a little bit quicker.”
One of those involved, Kwame Watson-Siriboe, thinks things are progressing nicely.
“This is the third game in for us starting together and playing together and I think we see a lot of positives,” explained Watson-Siriboe. “There are a couple of holes, but we’re going to continue to watch film and make sure that we plug those holes so that next time we’re going to keep zeroes and hopefully be the best team in the MLS with our shutouts.”
For Watson-Siriboe, there is a key element that is still being built among the young Real Salt Lake defense, and that’s something that takes continuity, and the creation of a true partnership. Although the squad hasn’t fully formed this relationship, it’s well on its way.
“I think it’s the trust. If Schuler goes up, he’s going to know that I’m going to cover him. He’s not going to have that thought in the back of his mind that “oh, if I mess up Kwame won’t be there covering for me.”
Despite moments of shakiness along the backline against Colorado, there has been one bright spot in the RSL defense, stalwart goalkeeper Nick Rimando. He earned high praise from Kreis for his play over the first three matches this season.
“He’s been absolutely stellar for us and I think he gets considered for the national team at the exact right time for next weekend’s match.”