LEHI, Utah — Penalty-kick takers are a rare breed. Not only do they need good technical skill, but by necessity they must also be decisive and have ice water running through the veins.
Until this season, Robbie Findley had shown all these qualities.
Though Findley had taken only two career penalty kicks during the regular season prior to Thursday’s failed attempt against the Seattle Sounders, he had converted both. He also scored one against Columbus in the playoffs last season as well as a pair in shootouts in both the Eastern Conference Championship game and in the MLS Cup last fall.
In total, prior to Thursday's miss, Findley’s PK record was five confident attempts and five positive results.
WATCH: Findley fails to score PK
However, it’s no secret that Findley has struggled to finish during much of this season. He failed to get his first MLS goal until on the eve of his departure to join the USMNT in preparation for the World Cup. He then scored in his next four MLS games after returning, but he has struggled since despite creating chances.
So in Seattle, it was a bit of a surprise to see Findley step up to the spot after earning the penalty kick. Generally, some coaches don’t like to see the fouled player take the resulting PK as they feel it may be harder for him to remain cool given the emotion of the preceding play. That said, others feel the player should be rewarded for earning the attempt.
For RSL head coach Jason Kreis, though, Thursday's miss showed what a positive team spirit his side has.
"I think he is a confident player," Kreis said. "I have to give credit to the guys for having him take the penalty. We have a real family spirit and gave him the opportunity to score.”
“To watch two or three of our guys go grab him after he misses and let him know it is OK — that for me is special stuff."
As for Findley, in typical fashion, he downplayed the entire event after the match.
"I was taken down in the box and stepped up to take the shot," Findley said. "I didn't hit it that well, and [Kasey Keller] made a good save. Nothing more than that, really."