Fire find their form against RSL
It was a game of firsts. The first MLS game at Rice-Eccles played on grass. The Chicago Fire were the first Eastern Conference team to visit Salt Lake. Not only was it Real Salt Lake's first loss at home, it was the worse margin of defeat all season, three goals to nil. And finally, it was the first time I had the opportunity to enter winning team's locker room.
There wasn't much good that came from the evening for RSL, except for the large attendance (17,861). The boys looked a step slow, and Chicago was full of energy for the majority of the match. Simply put the Fire looked as though they wanted to win more than RSL.
As for me, it was my best night of the season up to this point. The day before the match I prepared a list of several story ideas. Among them was the 200th career game of Fire captain Chris Armas. When he scored the opening goal of the game it was a no brainer as to what to write about.
Armas was one of the more fun players to interview. The conversation seemed to really flow naturally and he opened up to really share what he thought. He's a humble person, who puts his team first. That fact that they just got a 3-0 win on the road may have had something to do with his mood. Who wouldn't be happy.
The hard part of the night was watching the the RSL team file out of their locker room. While waiting for the Fire locker room to open up I saw about a half dozen guys leave. The overall mood looked to be bewilderment. Most didn't want to make eye contact with anyone, some looked as though they were sick. It's hard when you've gotten to know some of the guys on a recognition basis. You try to comfort them, but what do you say? I told the ones who I thought played well that they did, and then I was motioned to enter the Fire locker room.
Now that we have the first home loss in the books, lets get over it and get ready for Dallas. They have a great team, but will be without their diving team, Johnson and Ruiz. Ronnie O'Brien is ever so dangerous. RSL will be without Eddie Pope, Tiger, Rojas, and Dipsy. All are away on International duty.