RSL Roundup: Against the odds, Shield in reach
SANDY, Utah – After a few weeks of hectic travel and a packed schedule, Real Salt Lake enjoyed a “normal” week last week, with just the one game. They were able to convert that into a home 1-0 victory against a new-look New York Red Bulls. Now they'll look ahead to a midweek encounter against Seattle.
WATCH: HIGHLIGHTS: RSL 1, NY 0
Supporters' Shield within sight
Real Salt Lake set their sights on the Supporters' Shield before the season started, but after LA's blistering start saw them take a huge lead in the standings, that feat seemed unachievable. However, they've since made up ground on their West rivals and could actually overtake them with a win in Seattle on Thursday.
Robbie Findley, along with a few teammates, apparently picked up a bug while in Mexico for the Champions League match against Cruz Azul, which explains Findley being subbed out shortly after the half against New York.
“Robbie Findley at halftime told us he was feeling very ill,” RSL coach Jason Kreis said. “He has been feeling ill since we left Mexico, actually. A few of our guys have had stomach ailments for now the past week."
Against New York, Real Salt Lake made not one, but two goal-line clearances as players chipped in to help Nick Rimando maintain the clean sheet. Andy Williams and Kyle Beckerman supplied the cool defending for the two plays.
“Andy can’t jump, so he has to be on the post," Rimando said. "The low balls he can get to, so I expected him to get to that.”
Kreis was more than satisfied to see those types of game-changing plays executed on match day.
“We’ve hammered away at that since the beginning of preseason, and we pay a lot of attention to that," Kreis said. "We watch a lot of video. Credit to the guys that were alert to make plays on the goal line.”
Nat Borchers revealed the approach that the team had defensively coming into the match.
“We just wanted to deny [Juan Pablo] Ángel and [Thierry] Henry the ball as much as we could," he said. "We had Kyle in there making sure it was difficult for them to penetrate us, and I think we did a good job.”
Borchers also weighed in on why the team has proven to be so successful at home.
“It’s a number of things – I always think that when we are at home, we have a special mentality," he said. "We come out very aggressively and we really take pride in defending and possessing the ball.”