RSL see value in scoreless draw

Winless streak at RFK continues but champs put tie in perspective

WASHINGTON – Hit with a growing injury list and a
short week of rest, Real Salt Lake knew the going would be tough on Saturday
night in a venue where the defending MLS Cup champs have never won. And RSL's winless skid at RFK Stadium
continued on Saturday as they battled D.C. United to a 0-0 draw, which also ended a five-game winning

The match concluded a week-long stay in the nation’s
capital, a stretch that included a U.S. Open Cup play-in match, a humanitarian
endeavor with Nothing But Nets, and a visit with U.S. President Barack Obama at
the White House.

At the end of it all, a point was an acceptable result –
particularly the shutout that came with it.

“I think [the result] feels like what it was – which was
a draw. But a well earned, hard fought for draw,” Head Coach Jason Kreis said. “Probably the most important thing that comes out of that
for us is a shutout, because we’ve been stressing it for every match for the
past four or five games.”

The result came on a humid and muggy night in DC, with a kickoff temperature hovering around 90 degrees. RSL
managed to hang on to a point at the final whistle, despite being forced to
suit up and start a number of players who had gone extended minutes during the
extra time Open Cup loss on Wednesday.

With Kyle Beckerman, Chris Wingert and Nelson Gonzalez
all missing through injury, and Robbie Findley in South Africa with the US National Team, players like
Will Johnson, Nat Borchers, Robbie Russell and Tony Beltran were once again
back in the starting lineup after going 120 minutes on Wednesday in a 2-1
loss in the U.S. Open Cup play-in game.

Perhaps the biggest factor, however, was the humidity,
hanging over the match from the very start, reducing action to a sluggish,
back-and-forth affair over 90 minutes. The weather was a sharp contrast to what
Salt Lake City has to offer and the elements tested RSL for the first time this season.

“We come from a very dry place that has had a very, very
cool spring,” Kreis said. “This is the first time we’ve been in the
humidity and the first time we’ve been in any kind of heat. I know it’s a
transition, it takes time.”

The heat on the field took its toll as the game played
out and both sides struggled to properly adjust to the conditions. Play would
sometimes stall in the midfield and players would take advantage of stoppages
to hydrate.

“This humidity definitely takes a toll on you no matter
how much you prepare, and it showed a little bit in our game,” goalkeeper Nick
Rimando said. “But again, we fought through it, and somehow figured out to get
a point.”

The freshness of Rimando and defender Jamison Olave –
both rested in midweek – helped keep D.C. United off the score sheet, a confidence
builder ahead of Wednesday night’s marquee matchup against league-leading Los

“We needed a shutout,” Rimando said. “Our defense is
playing well this whole season, and we’ve still been giving up that late goal,
and today we got zero. It feels good.”

While the shutout may have satisfied some, midfielder Will Johnson
still thought three points were there for the taking.

“It’s been a tough couple days,” Johnson said. “Playing
120 [minutes], all the shenanigans at the White House, being on our feet all day
yesterday. There’s no doubt that I think we weren’t quite as sharp
breaking them down. I’m not disappointed, not overly excited.”