After two games and a good start in the league (3 points out of 6 possible while playing away from home is a good start for me) it seems that some feel differently and are looking for someone to blame. Of course, it is easier to find someone to blame in defeat than it is to find a solution.
Real Salt Lake won 2-0 at San Jose with the same team that lost 1-0 to DC United. After that opening match everyone was talking about how well the team played. They pointed out the good passing, possession, and the fact that Plata is very fast and change the dynamics of the team. Saborío was spectacular and it was pointed out that the youngsters, Luis Gil and Sebastian Velasquez were no longer a promise for the future, but talent for the present. It was easy to overlook that there were some defensive errors that were solved during the game. It also appears that Robbie Findley seems not to be 100% in form, seems a little lost and not a good fit for Saborío at this moment. Many also forgot that this is a young team with very little experience.
Real Salt Lake last Saturday was not as composed as it was in the second half of the game against San Jose Earthquakes. The game against DC United had many obstacles in midfield, the ball was not moving well on the diamond and often the long balls to Findley were the option. Luis Gil and Sebastian Velasquez tried to work together with their speed and skills but the midfielders of DC United concentrated and stopped any attempted on attack. Saborío was isolated and many times had two defenders covering him, which led to frustration, and Findley did not bring the relief that was needed.
The game was set for a 0-0 draw as neither team had total control. It seemed like the only option to win this game was going to be on a set play. Sadly for Real Salt Lake that option was going to be for DC United. Lionard Pajoy would put a header in an open goal with a rebound ball after an amazing Rimando save.
After that moment Real Salt Lake dominated the game, controlled the tempo, and attacked more. Palmer would help to open the field more and sent crosses seeking for Saborío, but the game would end 1-0 for DC United and that would be the first loss of the season.
After the defeat many seek a person to blame and we forget the team’s reaction after that DC United goal. Real Salt Lake was full of young players in the field and showed its personality and strength. Gil was more productive. Velasquez tried to partner up with the forwards. Beckerman, like always, was very solid recovering and distributing the ball. Palmer gave RSL more options on the attack but it was very difficult against a DC United side that was piled up in the back to preserve the 1-0 score.
The lack of experience on the team makes you more vulnerable to such errors in set pieces like the situation with the DC United goal but it might just take making some of these mistakes before the team can get stronger. Players will grow and the coaching staff can help them to learn and resolve these problems.
I can assure you that next corner, Schuler and Watson-Siriboe will be more aware of who’s behind them. Velasquez will get out of his position like a bullet, and others will pressure the possible shot on goal from the opposing team on the edge of the 18.
This is a very young Real Salt Lake. Every day they will improve and gain experiences, but sometimes is easier to find a culprit and not the solution. The coaching staff seems to be very happy with the team’s reaction after the 1-0, the personality shown and the wiliness to improve. This is the perfect moment to demonstrate what this RSL 2.0 is made of. This Saturday is the first home game of the season. The Rocky Mountain Cup in front of the RSL fans against Colorado Rapids, with a cheerful and sold out Rio Tinto – what better moment to shake off what happened in Washington DC?