Real Salt Lake continue to find a way to win

New England succumbs to one of champs' strenghts: set pieces

It’s often said in sports that “winners find a way, and losers find an
excuse." For defending MLS Cup champions Real Salt Lake, they’ve been
finding a “way” throughout this 2010 season and Saturday night's 2-1 victory on the road
at New England was another example.

RSL looked exhausted and were chasing much more than they are used to. The Revolution seemed intent on
keeping the ball away from the champs, who are accustomed to controlling the
ball and the pace of play. From the early moments, it looked like a
result for the visitors was going to be a long shot at Gillette Stadium.

“I
was very concerned that we wouldn’t have the necessary energy to finish up
what’s been a very trying and difficult travel schedule,” RSL manager Jason Kreis
told ESPN 700 Sports Radio after the game.

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But as
the match marched into the middle portion of the second half and just when it looked like a
scoreless draw would be a best-case scenario for RSL, defender Nat Borchers rose up to break the deadlock with a reverse header that was almost identical to his equalizer
against Colorado last weekend. 

“I
don’t think it’s anything other than being in the right place at the right
time,” Borchers mentioned on ESPN 700 Sports Radio. “Javi [Morales] put in a great ball and all
I had to do was put my head on it.”

After the Revolution mounted a furious reaction to tie the score, a draw once again seemed
inevitable until striker Álvaro Saborío put RSL ahead with a header off a Javier Morales corner kick. The goal in the 84th minute would prove
to be the game-winner and gave RSL an important three points in their pursuit of the Supporters Shield. They temporarily lead that race pending Sunday's result from the Los Angeles SuperClásico between the
LA Galaxy and Chivas USA. 

The
Revolution, no longer in playoff contention, may have had the better of play in
the field, outshooting RSL 19-4 on the night, but they fell victim to one of Real Salt Lake’s strongest weapons this season:
set pieces. The visitors' two goals – one from a
free kick just outside of the area, and the other off a corner kick – were
the 12th and 13th from set pieces during
league play for the club.  

“Our
guys are really, really pleased,” Kreis said of the mood in the locker room
following the match. “I haven’t seen
them this pleased in a long time. I
think they are extremely happy that they battled back … and also just to be done
with this extremely difficult stretch is pleasing to the guys as well.”

With
just three league matches and one Champions League match remaining on the schedule, the load
will seem much lighter than the grinding 14 games in a 56-day stretch that ended Saturday night. However, Borchers cautioned that his team has no room to take it easy.

“It’s
definitely an easier schedule as far as the number of games coming up," Borchers said. "But it’s
by no means an easy stretch of games.”