SANDY — Real Salt Lake forward Robbie Findley had plenty of pressure lifted this week.
Not only did he find out Tuesday he was named to the U.S. World Cup's 30-man initial camp for later this month, but he also found the back of the net for the first time in RSL's 3-1 win over the Houston Dynamo Thursday night at Rio Tinto Stadium.
"Of course, it is a relief off my shoulders," Findley said of getting goal No. 1 on the season. "I just tried to do the same things I have been doing; be dangerous, getting opportunities like before. I was able to put one of them away tonight. I should have had a couple more."
Findley's goal came in the third minute on a header following a nifty assist from midfielder Kyle Beckerman. It was his 25th with RSL — good enough for the franchise's all-time mark — and No. 27 in his MLS career. And while it was nice to break the scoring drought, realistically he should probably have had three goals on the night.
In the second minute, Findley broke behind the Houston defense and in on keeper Pat Onstad. His final touch was a little hard, setting up a tougher angle for his shot, which Onstad saved as it was hit belt high.
"I probably should have gone low on that one," said Findley.
Findley would certainly like to have his opportunity back from the 66th minute. Once again he got behind the back line and broke in toward Onstad. This time, however, he was in the middle of the field with even more open space. He pushed his shot to the far post, but missed the mark wide.
"I did everything wrong on that one," Findley said. "I should have taken my time, maybe taken one more touch and probably gone near post."
It may not have been coincidence that Findley scored his first goal just two days after being named to the U.S. camp. The burden of having that in the back of his mind may have been putting more pressure on him than he would have liked to admit.5 comments on this story
"He was doing his best, and we were asking him to not be thinking about that because it is something you can't control," said coach Jason Kreis. "But I know I have been in his position and it tends to be on your mind more than you would like it to, and there is not a whole lot you can do about it."
Findley's speed is by far his No. 1 asset, but in order for him to realize his dream and make coach Bob Bradley's final 23-man team that will represent the country next month in South Africa at the world's largest sporting event, there is going to have to be more.
"I am going to go in there with confidence and be able to perform at the best of my abilities," said Findley. "It was good to get that goal tonight.