Well Real Salt Lake's front office opened their billfold and paid the price to play host to Minnesota for their 3rd round US Open Cup match. Real Salt Lake's fans showed up in record breaking numbers, over 17K strong a record for a non-final US Open Cup match. The difference on the night was that the Real Salt Lake players looked more than just a little off, when was the last time our defense allowed a team to dominate them in their own area? When was the last time out midfield was so clearly out hustled?
Now I am not going to make a single excuse for any of the RSL players tonight, I am going to say quite simply that they were out played on both sides of the ball by a team that clearly showed more heart and passion on the night. Minnesota took advantage of our mistakes, they took advantage of their opportunities and for 90 minutes they outplayed the team at the top of the MLS table.
more thoughts after the jump:
I watched both of our starting forwards struggle with balls at their feet in the area to even get shots off, I watched our normally short, quick passing game break down as guys simply looked disconnected from each other. Our world class center backs had more moments on offense than on defense tonight, and Kyle Reynish was left with 6-10 guys the his area all night. It was simply a lack luster effort from a team that should have done better.
Nat Borchers said it on twitter it was embarrassing and I agree it was the first time at Rio Tinto Stadium that I wanted to leave a match early. I stopped many pictures early in the match as it simply wasn't worth the effort.
I will say this, RSL looked much more energetic and creative with Tony Beltran and Sebastian Velasquez on the pitch. I like what Yordany Alvarez can do on defense but his offensive passing was off, I thought after the early goal that both Ned Grabavoy and Jonny Steele were too focused on defense, both made some nice runs but both seemed a bit tentative at taking shots. I liked that both Terukazu Tanaka and Chris Wingert did nice jobs getting forward in the first half but too often there was nobody in the area for crosses, too many bodies standing around about 25 yards out and just waiting for something to happen. I like Luis Gil, his goal was a cracker, but he seemed to drift away from being that creative guy in the middle and was chasing the ball too much.
Just overall it seemed as if that early goal by the Stars had a huge impact on RSL as they more often than not looked worried about what Minnesota was doing, instead of doing what RSL does.
On the night the Front Office gets an "A" for bring the match to Rio Tinto and getting 17K fans to show up, the fans get and "A" for showing up in numbers and staying late into a match that their team was losing, and for me the players get an "D" for simply not being good enough on the night to win the match.
OFF MY SOAPBOX