Real Salt Lake entered Thursday’s match with the Houston Dynamo winless in eight games against their Western Conference foes. They were determined to break that spell.
Just three minutes in Robbie Findley got the team headed in the right direction, heading in his first goal of the season and sparking a thorough 3-1 victory. It was a good sendoff for the speedy forward before he heads east to join the U.S. national team pre-World Cup camp.
“It was great,” he said. “It’s always like that. Once you get that first one it seems to go smoother.”
“It’s great to see Robbie get a goal—hopefully this boosts his confidence going into camp,” said midfielder Will Johnson.
Findley’s pace was the perfect complement to Alvaro Saborío’s power. The Costa Rican, who scored two goals on the night, showed why club brass pursued him for 18 months before finally landing him. Saborío was all over the field, constantly creating grief for the opposing defense and opening up space for Findley to run into.
“Both of those guys up front are great,” Johnson said. “It’s great to see Robbie get a goal—hopefully this boosts his confidence going into camp.”
The win should boost the entire squad’s confidence. It’s no secret that RSL and the Houston have a budding rivalry. Their recent matches have seen a flurry of discipline and a great deal of contention. Johnson delivered his opinion of RSL’s Western Confernce rivals most succinctly.
“We hate them,” he said. “We felt that they didn’t deserve to beat us [in Houston earlier in the season], and we wanted to show that we’re an elite team in this conference and league.”
RSL captain Kyle Beckerman echoed Johnson’s sentiment about the match’s importance, both in sending a message to the Dynamo and to themselves.
“It was huge—biggest game of the season for us so far,” he said. “We felt it was a big step for us. If you want to be an elite team in this league you’ve got to beat everybody.”
A good thought for Findley to take with him as he heads to Princeton, N.J., for U.S. camp.