SANDY, Utah — When Real Salt Lake reacquired forward Robbie Findley just before preseason training camp started, much was expected from the speedy veteran. After all, he had scored 29 goals for the team in three-plus seasons with the club before heading to England following the 2010 season.
While he got off to a bit of a rocky start this year, Findley may have turned a corner when he scored a goal and notched an assist in the club's 3-0 win over San Jose last Saturday. If he can return to form, it just adds to what has already been an effective RSL attack, one that has scored 17 goals in its last seven games across all competitions.
"Robbie is an interesting case because people don't quite understand what we understand or what we see as a coaching staff," said RSL coach Jason Kreis following the San Jose game. "Robbie came into preseason and was just lights-out. We were just all so excited to have him back and he was just at the very top of his game because he was coming to us basically not in his preseason or offseason but he was coming to us midseason.
"But then, he picked up a pretty substantial injury. So when he came back from the injury it was a bit of up and down, up and down with that injury and trying to get over it. It was a little bit of a hassle," continued Kreis. "Then I think he mentally gets over it for the Seattle game. I feel like that was a really, really good week of training for him. He scores the goal and injures himself again.
"So now, I think he is just now coming back to full fitness from that injury. He's looked a little bit hesitant in some of his decisions he's making. He's looked exactly like an injured player would coming off an injury. People that don't understand that he's been going through these injury issues, probably would look at it and get frustrated, but the coaching staff doesn't. We have a lot of belief in him. Tonight, I think he showed that he is back at the top of his game, and we are very, very happy that he is."
Findley is just getting back to the potential he showed the team in the preseason, and he knows if that is the case, good things are probably in store for him personally and for the club.
"It felt good coming back from that injury," Findley told reporters after the game. "Now I feel good and confident. It's just a matter of getting minutes back into me. Tonight was a good performance by the whole group and we’ve got to move forward from here.”