It wasn’t easy, it wasn’t pretty, and it was, by far, not one of Real Salt Lake’s most shining efforts.
Still, RSL came away from their scoreless draw at Colorado on Friday night happy about their result.
“We’re feeling really pleased about it,” head coach Jason Kreis said on ESPN700 Sports Radio immediately following the match. “[We] now put ourselves in a position where we control our own destiny at home. We pick up the three points [on Oct. 22 vs. Portland], and we guarantee ourselves third place in the conference, third place in the league, and that’s exactly where we need to be right now.”
Kreis’ words seem to indicate that Real Salt Lake went into Dick’s Sporting Goods Park looking to play for the draw, and the team was well aware that four points over the next two matches would guarantee them third place in the West.
But perhaps, after allowing a whopping 12 goals over their four-game losing streak ahead of the tilt against the Rapids, RSL’s game plan was a bit more basic: keep a clean sheet.
“That’s what we needed,” admitted Kreis. “We needed to start from the foundation of how we built this team. We needed to get back to the basics. We needed to get back to the details of defending together as a unit.”
While the defense held firm against a Rapids team that threatened from the start, the offense lacked punch. RSL created a few nice build-ups, especially in the second half, but lacked the finesse to put a single shot on target and challenge Colorado ‘keeper Matt Pickens.
Kreis pointed out that RSL will “be looking to improve on that next week.”
Although they were unable to get the win, the road draw is an important building block as RSL take one more step in their march toward the postseason.
In addition to the draw and the clean sheet, Kreis & Co. retained the Rocky Mountain Cup for a fifth straight season as an outcome of this result. Although it may not carry the weight of the MLS Cup, the trophy representing regional supremacy is still a valuable piece of hardware to the squad.
“When you’re here in Colorado and able to accept a trophy on their field, it’s always going to be a good thing,” said Kreis. “It’s a trophy that our supporters put a lot into, and we care about our supporters. We’re glad that we could win this one for them.”