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Why RSL couldn't score against Colorado Rapids despite creating opportunities

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Real Salt Lake has struggled to score for some time now, and yesterday's 0-0 draw with Colorado Rapids was no exception.

Javier Morales, though, has returned in spectacular fashion after a concussion layoff, and with him, chances are back in vogue. That's probably not a surprise, with Morales having been the creative force on the team since, what, 2010? Without him, the team has struggled to create chances.

But despite the scoring woes, it wasn't as if RSL didn't have opportunities — so we should turn away from the creation question for a minute and wonder about finishing instead.

There's no easy way to spin this one positively (not that we'd necessarily want to), but the finishing just wasn't great against the Rapids. If it had been better, then we're sitting with three or four goals, such was the quality of chances RSL had on hand.

Real Salt Lake shots chart against Colorado Rapids

via Squawka

Look at this chart from Squawka — those four off-target shots from very well inside the box should loom large. Three of those were from Alvaro Saborio, and one was from Luke Mulholland (that diving header, if you recall.) Saborio also had the one saved shot, too.

It would be fantastic if we could just pinpoint each of those chances and solve for them — but as it stands, that's never going to happen. Instead, we're left with Saborio being an inconsistent finisher sometimes — and at other times, he's a brilliant finisher. It's a little weird, but maybe somebody smarter than us can figure out why that's the case.

Whatever the case, though, we also know that without Morales in the side regularly, Saborio hasn't had good momentum with chances coming his way — now, that's not necessarily a great excuse, but it's at least something we can see as a reason, rather than some nebulous, indeterminable factor.

But beyond the Saborio factor, we should also think about Joao Plata and Sebastian Jaime. The young Ecuadorian made just his second start of the season — and his first 90-minute appearance — and Jaime made just his second appearance since the end of March.

You simply can't expect a striker to come back scoring goals after long layoffs — even the best in the world struggle sometimes — and that requires some patience. And beyond those three, Olmes Garcia and Devon Sandoval simply haven't shown themselves to be goalscorers yet — so when those three top strikers are out, it gets increasingly difficult to handle.

In the end, we're left with a series of questions.

Will Saborio pick himself back up and get back to goalscoring form? Can Plata build on good early performances, stay injury-free, and get on the scoresheet? Can Jaime score his first goal for the club and go on a run?