SANDY, Utah — For 89 minutes, it looked like Real Salt Lake had found their groove again. They had a 1-0 lead on Portland at home and had seen several near misses, all while containing the Timbers to a scant few opportunities.
However, that all changed with a late equalizer from Portland defender Futty Danso, which doomed RSL to a 6th straight match without a win.
The upshot was a dejected RSL locker room after the match.
“Down,” goalkeeper Nick Rimando said when asked to describe the mood of the squad. “Whenever you give points away like that at home in front of our own fans on Fan Appreciation Night, people are going to be down. And understandably.”
Rimando was blameless on the goal. The veteran and two-time MLS Cup champion recognized, however, that the blame is unimportant. In the playoffs, one error can mean the difference.
“We put 94 minutes in of great work, and we turned off in one play and it cost us,” he continued. “We should have won this game.”
Striker Fabian Espindola didn’t want to hear about the positives to take away.
“It doesn’t matter when at the end you fail like that,” he explained. “If that happens in the playoffs — you do that, and you are out.”
Coach Jason Kreis understood the negativity in the locker room, but also expressed his own disappointment in certain aspects of the side’s performance.
“It’s important that we feel disappointed that we didn’t finish the job,” he said. “You draw two negatives out of it: One is that we’ve got to finish our chances – we should have been able to put that team away. And then the second one is that you can’t fall asleep for one second out here at playoff time. We got punished for it.”
Defender Chris Wingert, who was penalized for a handball in the area in the second half — Jack Jewsbury missed the ensuing penalty — remains optimistic. After all, RSL are in 3rd place and will host a Conference Semifinal match next weekend.
“We’re going to win one soon, eventually,” Wingert said. “So, I guess the best time to win it is in the playoffs. For the most part these last two weeks we’ve played our [butts] off. It’s just a shame that we had a lapse at the end. It would have felt much better for morale if we had won.”