RSL tactical changes not rewarded by woodwork
On Saturday night Real
Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando moved into third place for the longest
shutout streaks in MLS history as his team faced FC Dallas. His 567-minute stretch without giving up a
goal stands just 114 minutes short of Tony Meola’s all-time league mark.
the story in this match was that the streak finally came to an end in 2-0 loss at Pizza
Hut Park. It was not the only streak that came crashing down.
WATCH: FULL MATCH HIGHLIGHTS
The loss ended a 10-game unbeaten run and the
two goals conceded by RSL marked the first time a team has scored against them
in the last eight matches. And it was also the first time Real Salt Lake had given up
multiple goals since mid-April.
Lake brought a different tactical approach into this match. RSL employed a 4-5-1
formation, dropping Fabian Espindola back from his usual advanced position, and
leaving striker Robbie Findley as the lone option up top.
The game plan was to employ five midfielders and to keep their own outside backs at home while using Findley’s speed to keep the opposing back line honest. The strategy appeared to
prove effective in the first half, as RSL gave up only a couple of chances in
the extreme heat and with 45 minutes left to play.
began to unravel in the early moments of the second half, as Real Salt Lake allowed themselves
to be stretched along the right side of the defense on several occasions. RSL also struggled to maintain possession
during this stretch.
may have precipitated the double change that RSL manager Jason Kreis made in the 61st
minute as he brought on more attacking flair and switched back to the familiar
4-4-2. Substitutes Andy Williams and Alvaro Saborio came on for Findley
and Jean Alexandre. However, shortly after the moves were made, FC Dallas were able to make their mark
and opened the scoring.
the final result could suggest to some that FC Dallas comfortably managed Salt Lake, the
result very nearly could have gone the opposite way.
RSL team enjoyed some luck a week ago, as the posts helped them keep a clean
sheet in Chicago. This week, the posts
became the enemy as two Real Salt Lake shots were negated by the hardware in
each half – one from a low angle shot from the left by Javier Morales, and the other from a
shot near the top of the area by Will Johnson.
will hope that luck comes back to smile on them next week against Chivas USA at
Rio Tinto Stadium.