Real Salt Lake sufferEd their first loss of the 2016 season, and it is a tough one to swallow. While the first 45 minutes are ones that we want to forget, RSL showed a lot of character and determination to dominate the second 45 minutes. What was the difference? Javier Morales.
RSL received a fury of offense from Giovani Dos Santos and company but were able to withstand it. They were able to build off a penalty kick save by Nick Rimando. With that momentum, RSL pushed forward and was able to create a fantastic chance and it was capitalized by a header to the near post by Burrito Martinez in the 16' minute. Seven minutes later, he was taken off the field and all hell broke loose on the field for RSL. They ended the first half with a 4-1 deficit, going into the half time break trailing for the first time this season.
The coaching staff understood that something needed to change and they made a great decision in bringing in fresh legs of the one and only Maestro, Javier Morales. He impact was felt immediately starting the second half. There was more possesion in the midfield third. They were able to get forward and create more chances, rather than sit back and absorb the pressure. The build up plays were on point and RSL looked the better team the rest of the game. There was a fire in Javi's eyes that was very clearly seen from the way he conducted the team. He was able to make a beautiful pass to Yura Movsisyan to get a clear chance to score a goal. Javi was able to redeem the Claret and Cobalt by burying a penalty kick in the 70th minute from a penalty earned by Movsisyan.
At the end of the day, Real Salt Lake dug themselves a hole too deep that they were not able to limb out of. They will have a chance to shake it off quickly as they return to Rio Tinto Stadium for the last time until June 18th. They take on the Houston Dynamo and will try to build some confidence to move past this game and go onto a long road game stretch.