Real Salt Lake failed to progress in the US Open Cup Tuesday night, falling to the Seattle Sounders in penalties.
Playing what most would consider the strongest 11 available, RSL were up against somewhat of a reserve squad for Seattle, but the grit and tenacity from Seattle stood out through 120 minutes of play and penalties.
Here’s what we learned from this one:
1. Tough results happen despite dominating play.
RSL dominated possession, were dynamic, and created handfuls of chances. On another night that gets us a win, 5-0. This season we had yet to see as dynamic of an attack as was on display tonight, but it didn’t come together in front of goal. Lot’s of credit should go to Miller for Seattle, but we needed to make it harder for him.
2. Need to find that finishing touch.
The build up is clearly there. Actually kept track of completed back heels tonight and there were 11 from RSL. We are finding space and passing lanes, the movement is there, and it’s all building up to chances by the bucket. For all that and for as efficient as the season started out we seem to have lost some of that finesse in front of goal and we need to get it back soon so that the possession we are finding isn’t getting wasted.
3. Finding a way to break down teams that park the bus
It’s hard. If you’ve played at any competitive level against teams that sit back, you know it’s hard. But teams have and will continue to find ways to break down teams that bunker/counter all game long. Seattle did a great job quickly getting numbers back behind the ball and were disinterested, mostly, in possessing the ball with any purpose. That can be really frustrating for a team like RSL and often leads to a lack of space to get into in front of goal and an abundance of deflected shots when you find some. All that said, have to find a way. The great teams find a way.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, I’m gonna throw in a knee-jerk reaction cause that’s starting to be a thing.
One awful moment killed us tonight. One. My knee jerk reaction to the game tonight is to not have one. I’m as disappointed as everyone else, but that was a really fun and frustrating game to watch. I worry about what 120+ penalties will do to us on a short turn around, but I really think that’s the most dynamic we’ve been all year. We have to be able to put it together in front of goal, asap, and I expect that will be a big focus going forward.