Photo by ISIPhotos.com
by TYLER GRAY
SANDY, Utah – Real Salt Lake used a formation change and some feisty defense to secure the 1-0 home victory over the visiting Houston Dynamo.
In a move designed to give fresher players an opportunity to see the field, RSL head coach Jason Kreis rolled out a 4-3-3 instead of the traditional 4-4-2 diamond that has become a trademark of the Utah side.
Despite an admittedly flat start to the game, RSL did what they had to do and secured a victory through Alvaro Saborio’s penalty kick goal.
“To be completely self-critical and honest,” head coach Jason Kreis said. “I did feel like we were a little flat the first half. the mood was a little flat. But the guys looked pretty confident and when we went forward and chose to do it, we were pretty dangerous.”
The lone goal for either side came in the 37th minute when RSL forward Olmes Garcia who was playing on the wing for the match, fought through a challenge and got his head on the ball sending it high up into the air. The 20-year old rose up to win the second ball and was undercut in the box by Adam Moffatt, and referee Jose Carlos Rivero pointed to the spot.
Saborio stepped up and Houston goalkeeper Tally Hall dove to his right. The Costa Rican calmly placed his shot low and to the opposite side to secure the goal and the subsequent win.
Kreis was pleased with the shutout, and said that it seems like it has been a very long time since RSL had kept a zero.
“We haven’t had a shutout in a long time,” Kreis said. “I feel like the guys put a special effort forth to make sure that that happened.”
RSL right back Tony Beltran agreed with his coach and highlighted the team’s defensive chemistry as a reason for the victory.
“It’s just cohesion, we play together and you know some games are tougher than others but we were fortunate to get the shutout tonight.”
The team was high on the tweaked formation, going 3-0-0 this season when Kreis has opted to do so, but defense was the buzzword of the night with RSL captain Kyle Beckerman adding his two cents.
“The real focus this week was to not give up a goal and try and get back to getting those shutouts,” said Beckerman. “We didn’t want to make a trend of this giving up late goals. So I think it was a good mentality that the team had and a good focus and we were able to achieve getting a shutout again.”