SANDY, Utah – Real Salt Lake have built a reputation on mistake-free football, so it’s no surprise that after Saturday night’s 1-0 loss to previously winless Chivas USA, the talk was all about the uncharacteristic error that doomed them to defeat.
In the 72nd minute, Chivas' Nick LaBrocca slipped the ball to overlapping Ante Jazic on the left flank. The defender fired a cross into the area that Nick Rimando came out to meet, but the RSL netminder couldn’t quite get the handle on the ball. A waiting Casey Townsend was only too happy to deposit the free ball into the net for the winning goal.
Rimando saw the error as his in poor judgment.
“There’s no excuse,” he said. “Unfortunately, the ball came out of my hands and bounced right to [Townsend]. The cross is in your area – you go for it. If there’s contact, there’s contact. That’s the sport. Next time around, you punch that and it gets cleared.”
RSL head coach Jason Kreis saw it a bit differently from the sideline, calculating that Kyle Beckerman perhaps could have done a better job in collaring LaBrocca on the play. But ultimately it may have been a lack of communication in the box between Rimando and defender Chris Schuler.
“Maybe there’s a little bit of a miscommunication between [Rimando] and Schuler because I think they are going for the same ball,” Kreis said, “and I think ultimately they probably caused the error themselves.”
Schuler had a similar assessment.
“I definitely could have gone up and won it and done a lot better with that one,” he said of Jazic’s cross.
At the end of the night, however, RSL’s unbeaten record fell by the wayside and the team is forced to move on. Schuler’s final attitude is perhaps the one the team needs to put the defeat behind them.
“I think life’s best lessons are hardest learned sometimes,” Schuler said, “and I definitely learned something there.”