Real Salt Lake is the team that keeps on giving.
Points to opponents, I mean. And so it was again that we lost a road outing against Austin FC in which we looked better than them for maybe 60 minutes. Incidentally, those 60 minutes ended when Moussa Djitté scored his first goal of the night. His first of three, I might add. As a substitute. For the first substitute’s hat trick since 2010 in MLS. So.
Should we talk about the goals? I guess we should.
The 58th minute: Josh Wolff makes three substitutes.
The 60th minute: Djitté makes a run through the middle. Diego Fagundez is given time and space on the left flank, and you know what they say about affording Diego Fagundez time and space. You shouldn’t do it. He issues a scything pass that’s basically undefended, and Djitté makes his run past RSL center back Johan Kappelhof, who simply doesn’t keep up. It’s a really great goal he scores, hitting the cross on a half volley that leaves Zac MacMath without much of a chance.
The 76th minute: Austin hits the crossbar while recycling a corner, the ball lands to Kappelhof, who doesn’t do enough to head it away. More pressingly, Djitté has moved free of Justin Meram, who is doing his best Luis Gil impression and standing around in the box. Djitté fires home. What an awful set piece.
The 80th minute: RSL’s caught on the break. They’re pushing hard, trying to claw one back and make that tired adage about the most dangerous lead in soccer true, at least for one night. They get a four-on-three going. Djitté does it again.
I’ll end with some Pablo Mastroeni quotes from his post-match TV appearance.
I think the guys who started the game were fantastic, did a really good job executing the game plan. I thought the guys that came into the game didn’t catch up to the speed of the game, the focus of the game, the desire of the game, the mentality of the game. When we’re here, it’s not about football. It’s about mentality and character. We lacked that with the guys coming into the game.
I think frustrating is putting it nice. You’ve got to compete the right way, man. This has gotta mean something. You’ve gotta go out and give everything you’ve got. You’ve gotta sacrifice your body. You’ve gotta be willing to lose your head. There’s dogs out here that want to win the damn game. We’ve gotta go out and win the damn game, man. It’s about moments and plays. Not good enough.
Goals change games. We created enough tonight on several occasions in the first 60 minutes to score goals, man. You’ve gotta score goals to win games. At this moment. it’s eluding us, but we’ve gotta get back on the horse. We’ve got a big game this weekend.
I’m not concerned about legs, I’m not concerned about tiredness. I’m not concerned about the guys that left it all out on the field and got subbed out. Putting the team out there that’s going to fight the right way, commit the right way, compete the right way, and execute the right way. That’s what we’re looking for at the weekend.