Real Salt Lake walks out of Rio Tinto Stadium with 3 points after beating Seattle Sounders 2-1. The defense was in question before the game on how they would deal with Jordan Morris and Clint Dempsey. While the defense did collapse in the 28th minute to concede a goal to Ozzie Alonso, they were able to rally back and have a very good showing by the Claret and Cobalt the rest of the game.
There were a lot of fouls committed in the midfield third and possession was changing sides every few passes. While the midfield, for the first 20 minutes, was complete chaos, the most complete performance was from our off season signing, Sunny Obayan. His defensive position and his movement off the ball made the biggest difference for Real Salt Lake. He was committed to taking on the defensive responsibility and was able to close down on the opposition to force them to make mistakes or dispossess them.
In the 43rd minute, Sunny tied the game at a goal for each team from a perfectly taken corner from Joao Plata. Originally he started being the pick for other teammates to free themselves up to have a chance, but Sunny created space from Dempsey and was able to direct the ball beautifully past the goalkeeper. Sunny was able to create chances for the team by winning the ball back in the middle of the field and pass it out wide to have balls centered in.
Sunny has not been with RSL for long, but he has started to make a name for himself. His partnership with team captain, Kyle Beckerman, is nothing short of special. Their movement off the ball and their positioning defensively is why they can become one of the best defensive midfield pairings in MLS.
Real Salt Lake is sitting comfortably with 4 points after today’s win but there is a lot more work to be done. While Sunny had a complete performance, the long balls over the top created some trouble for RSL’s defense. With that in mind, RSL is now looking toward next week’s game against the defending MLS Champions Portland Timbers.