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Despite positive response, dropping early problematic for RSL

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USA TODAY Sports

We're all asking the same basic question: How did we, of all teams, concede twice in the early minutes against Charleston Battery, digging ourselves a hole we somehow managed to escape?

It's easy to just say something routine like "inattention," but I'm not convinced that's a great excuse, even if it is the right one. At some point, I have to ask myself if I'm grasping at straws if I start looking for other reasons. Whatever it was, the right attitude wasn't on display, and it inevitably harmed Real Salt Lake.

The half shocked them back into life, which was actually refreshing, as we've seen instances where we've just not been able to respond after suffering early blows. Every player responded positively, and though some of them didn't last long in the rest of the match - like, say, Aaron Maund - it was hard to fault them extensively for their second-half performances.

We can ask ourselves all day why Chris Wingert, Nat Borchers and Ned Grabavoy were among RSL's worst-performing bunch in that first half, but finding an answer is inherently difficult. We can't just point and say "no motivation," as that's rather betrayed by the second-half performance. It's easy to imagine that they merely underestimated the opponent, but again, they shouldn't be, given our struggles against lower-league opposition over the last few years. Is it simply a matter of starting strong and heads dropping when a quick goal was scored, then dropping more when the second was finished?

Whatever it was, the desire for the half to simply end was palpable. Runs were dropping off, movement was ineffective, and RSL looked positively beaten down (as positive an act as that can be, I suppose) with plenty of time left to play.

That we came back and issued a strong statement in response shouldn't be too surprising. The Wingerts, Borchers, Grabavoys and Beckermans of the side have a history of fighting back when things got a bit too rough-and-tumble.

But then again, you don't expect them to be conceding two goals in three minutes against a USL Pro side, do you?