Flip the Switch: Corey Baird
The Play: In the second half with RSL fighting to hold on to a 1-0 lead, Baird cleanly took the ball off the feet of Nicolas Benezet and took a couple of touches before playing it to Damir Kreilach peeling off toward the middle. Kreilach thumped a shot from outside the box that found the back of the net and gave RSL a 2-0 lead in the 77th minute.
The Reason: RSL had three pretty clean chances on goal prior to this that didn’t find the net – two in the first half and one in the second on a penalty. With just one goal separating the teams at the time, Colorado was still in the game despite being outclassed on the field. By keeping the fight to extend the lead, RSL was able to put the game out of reach then the final 13 minutes became elementary.
The Stats: Baird was active and efficient on Sunday. He finished the match with three tackles – including one to set up the second goal – and was RSL’s lone attacker to play all 90 minutes. He finished with one shot, hitting it off the crossbar in an early-match moment that established RSL as the aggressors in the match, and one chance created which resulted in Kreilach’s goal.
The Quote: From RSL Head Coach Freddy Juarez, “It was big. This team has figured out how to grind out results and be mentally really strong. Depending on how you handle it mentally, I think our guys have mental strength and that just showed there. It didn’t frazzle us. It was a great goal from outside the box. After the first half, it gave us that confidence. It was just a matter of putting that second one away.”