Monday, March 30, 2009

RSL drop opener...again

It wasn't the start that Real Salt Lake wanted, but many may have expected. Heading up against one of the league's hottest teams in the Seattle Sounders FC, and clearly lacking the clinical finishing that RSL head coach Jason Kreis mentioned earlier in the week, Utah's MLS side dropped its season opener to the expansion Sounders 2-0.

The result is something that RSL fans have come to expect, as the team has yet to win on opening day in it's five year history. Some may even be worried by the things they saw on Saturday, but in truth, I'm not terribly worried.

It's no secret that Tony Beltran was a pipe that Steve Zakuani smoked repeatedly, and most especially en route to serving up Seattle's first goal. The lack of goals scored from Salt Lake could be a concern, although we're only looking at one game. The concern will come if the scoreless trend continues, which I don't think it will. Other than that, RSL looked fairly good.

Nearly the entire second half, with the exception of Fredy Montero's break away goal, was spent in and around the Seattle penalty area. The Salt Lake midfield, although not as sharp as we've seen in the past, kept most of the possession. This was in large part due to the efforts of Clint Mathis. He certainly isn't the brash goal-scorer of the past. But, he is a smart player that added a sense of calm for a midfield group that was just a little off on the night.

The few minutes that Raphael Cox played were very encouraged. After replacing Beltran, who slid over to left back in the second half, Cox looked very mobile and served up one of the better crosses of the match. He certainly made a case to see more playing time.

Up next is the home opener against the Columbus Crew on Thursday. RSL needs not only your butt in a seat at Rio Tinto Stadium on Thursday but also your voice to be heard. The match will be televised on ESPN2, and kickoff is set for 7pm local time.



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