First thing, the Colorado Rapids did not come to get a win tonight. If Colorado at least tried to counter I would say it was there to win, but I cannot say that. It came to play for the draw and when you play for a draw, you are going to get burned.
What Colorado did that was effective is allow its style of play to dictate how Real Salt Lake played.
Real Salt Lake prides itself on being a team that keeps possession by quick, intricate triangle, passing. RSL does play physical defensively, but after about the 30th minute, the offensive-minded players started retaliating to the play of the Rapids.
Javier Morales was pushing defenders, Alvaro Saborio wasn't himself, Andy Williams was tackling harder than he usually does and what was left for the fans wasn't really a soccer game as much as a 90-minute shoving match.
Tactically, Real Salt Lake came out in the usual 4-4-2 diamond formation with Morales at the top of the diamond, Williams and Ned Grabavoy on the sides and Kyle Beckerman the holding mid. Colorado came out in a straight 4-4-2 with Jamie Smith and Jeff Larentowicz in the middle with Wells Thompson and Brian Mullan on the wings.
What was frustrating about the midfield battle was Colorado made Real Salt Lake play up the flanks instead of playing through the RSL strength of their midfield, the middle.
There weren't many chances created throughout the match. Saborio was held in check by the Colorado defense. He was getting closer to getting a goal before being subbed in the 69th minute (and he showed his displeasure at being subbed).
The best chance created by Real Salt Lake in the first half occurred when Morales caught Fabian Espindola on a nice high through ball. Espindola stretched to get a shot out of it and if wasn't for a great play by Matt Pickens, Espi scores.
The other chances created where off set pieces. Nat Borchers had a great opportunity after a fantastic first touch by Espindola. His header floated just wide. The second chance came off a second half corner where the ball was placed perfectly on Jamison Olave's head. Olave was just underneath it sending the ball over the netting.
Espindola's goal was a reflection of his effort throughout the match. He is, and always will be, the great wild card for RSL. You know you will get his 100 percent effort. Will it be productive or not is always the question. He put himself in the right place to pounce on the rebound and got the goal.
Was he offsides? He looked like he was offsides, but with sports, calls equalize during the season. Borchers has had two goals called back this season already, Espindola's goal takes one of those goals off the board.
Morales again was the cog of the RSL attack. He looked to take a serious knock early in the first half but suffered through it and played the full 90.
Was it a good match to watch? Like I tweeted earlier, "that match sucked until it didn't suck. Late game winning goals always make fans forget the first 90 minutes."
Host and contributor to the RSL show. Loyal RSL supporter. Follow me @RSLshow and @fuegote. www.therslshow.com
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