So remember what I said about how this match might look on paper, it would look a bit one sided for RSL, but I warned that DC United could present a challenge. Well if you watched 79 minutes of the match, you knew what I was talking about. The score says 3-0, but to be honest the match felt more like a 2-1 match, and if you look at the numbers (other than the score you would see that.
Shots - RSL 11, DC United 11
Shots on goal - RSL 3, DC United 3
Fouls - RSL 10, DC United 14
Corner Kicks - RSL 3, DC United 5
Saves - RSL 3, DC United 0
For DC United, the problem is 13 goals now allowed in the final 15 minutes of matches. The two tonight pushed them to that total that is almost half of the 31 goals they have now allowed their opponents to score.
I thought Robbie Findley brought and energy that helped the entire team seem more alive than in the last couple matches, I was impressed that Javier kept his composure as United were marking him very close for the entire match. I believed the key was getting out in front early, which really changes how this team plays and sure enough it was the clear choice for newcomer of the year in MLS, Alvaro Saborio who put his 8th ball of the year into the back of the net in the 13th minute.
I thought Andy Williams came on at just the right time and like Bomma does most of the time he provided energy and electricity to the RSL side, two assists in 20 minutes is mighty impressive. Robbie's goal was solid, he had plenty of chances and I am willing to bet that he is a bit disappointed that he didn't finish them all better. It was great to see Nelson come on for a few minutes and even better that he was able to convert a stoppage time goal to may my 3 goals for 3 points prediction to Diego come true.
DC United have added some players that I believe will help them win matches, Boskovic provides some bite in the midfield along side Simms, and Hernandez looks like he will be the real deal. I still think there are issues at forward as Allsopp wasn't impressive to me and Pontius doesn't seem like the solution either. I wonder if Curt will get creative and play Hernandez and Najar up top together? That might be a dangerous combo.
Post match comments from the RSL locker room after the jump:
REAL SALT LAKE HEAD COACH JASON KREIS
On scoring a goal early:
"Everybody knows it's important, and oftentimes that first goal can be what makes or breaks the game for you. It changes tactics. We have had a lot of teams that come in lately and sit. If we can't score that first goal, then they are content to do that. Once you score that goal, they've got to open up. As we've seen before, we're pretty dangerous when teams open up against us."
On the second half:
"There were frustrating moments, for sure. For a good portion of the second half I really felt that they were going to score on us. They were the better team, they were a little more aggressive and they had the better chances. Frankly, I think they deserved to score a goal, and I'm real pleased that they didn't. You always talk about bounces, and the bad ones that go against us; I think sometimes we need to recognize the good ones as well, and tonight we got a couple of good bounces."
On the play of Robbie Findley:
"It's interesting that, when we play with Robbie, what you recognize is that [the opposition] is a little less willing to send defenders forward. I think [United] really - and, in particular, Mark Burch, who I think has always been a good attacking outside back - didn't get forward much. I think that was because he was concerned about Findley.
"I felt like Robbie had the energy tonight that we haven't seen from him for awhile. The fact of the matter is he scored a critical, crucial goal at the right time. I will continue to look at the positives."
On RSL's defensive effort:
"I'm really pleased that we got the zero, but I think we're a bit fortunate to have gotten that zero. I think we were very stretched out for a long time that second half. The distance between our forwards and our defenders was too great, and in transition it seemed like we were allowing them to play passes forward for 30 and 40 yards. Every time we gave the ball away, we ended up with a chance on goal against us. We're going to need to look at that and shore that up."
REAL SALT LAKE FORWARD ROBBIE FINDLEY
On tacking on a pair of goals late:
"We were going to get opportunities and it was just a matter of putting them away when we got them. We didn't panic or anything like that, we just stuck to what we know how to do and we got a couple more goals."
On his partnership with Álvaro Saborío:
"Throughout training we interchange with all the forwards, so in order for us to be successful we have to learn how each one of us plays. So if it's me and Sabo we'll get on the same page, or me and Fabian [Espindola], or Fabi and Sabo ... we've just got to know what each other's tendencies are and go from there."
REAL SALT LAKE GOAL KEEPER NICK RIMANDO
On getting a shutout:
"It's very important for us to get a zero today. We didn't get one the last couple of matches and that was very upsetting to us as a team. We knew that if we didn't let them score we would get three points tonight."
On the challenges the new-look D.C. attack presented:
"We didn't know much about their new guys, and that makes it hard. We knew they were left footed, and that's what they were. They had a couple of chances in the beginning, and I think set pieces were their main key, but overall I think we did well with them."
REAL SALT LAKE MIDFIELDER NELSON GONZÀLEZ
On his goal in stoppage time:
"It was a quick play. I took a touch and saw the goalkeeper was coming out and I just put it over him."
On getting back to play after a lengthy injury hiatus:
"I was a bit mad that I only got five minutes in the field! But I was just concentrating on leaving everything I could out there. It's difficult when you come to play and you can't for two months. It was a difficult situation, and I had to work a lot on my mental state to stay sharp during that time."
OFF MY SOAPBOX