Monday, March 29, 2010

Nearly Perfect Start for RSL

Real Salt Lake did something on Saturday that has never happened in the five previous seasons of the franchises history - they won their season opening match. Riding on a pair of ridiculous strikes from playmaker Javier Morales, RSL cruised to a convincing 3-0 victory on the road at San Jose.

Talk about playing with something to prove, RSL scored a third as many goals at Buck Shaw Stadium on Saturday as they scored the entire 2009 season on the road. All three goals came from the Argentine of Morales and Fabian Espindola. It's so good to see those two combining again.

The movement of the ball by Salt Lake was as impressive as last year. Lots of short passing in tight spaces, and lots of quick one-touches to get out of sticky situations. Speaking of touch, there was one player who appears to have really worked on his initial contact with the ball, and that's striker Robbie Findley. It is apparent that his experience with the US National Team over the off season has helped Findley corral and then protect the ball. He wasn't perfect at it, but he was much improved since last season.

Even though the team can gain a lot of confidence with this historic season opening win, it's hard to really gauge Salt Lake's true quality as San Jose appears to be a team in utter disarray. RSL dominated the midfield play, but there were times - especially late in the game - where the Earthquakes were dangerous on the attack and the Salt Lake defense suffered a lapse in concentration. Having Rimando's deflection save hit the post, on a point plank strike from Arturo Alvarez, was a stroke of fantastic luck. I would think that any team better than San Jose would have scored with the chances created late in the match, but the bounces seemed to go Salt Lake's way. A much stiffer test will come this Thursday when the Champions travel to Houston to take on the ever consistent, Tang-clad, Dynamo.

Those are my thoughts. What did you think of Salt Lake's performance on Saturday night in San Jose?

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