With the RSL coaching staff facing tough line-up decisions after Wednesday night's heart-breaking loss, many RSL fans still were optimistic about the possibility of getting a result on the road against the expansion Portland Timbers.
@BlakPijeon tweeted, "Game day! Big victory on tap for RSL and a shutout for the best defense in the league." @SLCBoz wrote: "I've got NOTHING going on this weekend other than watching RSL stomp Portland. I don't intend on making any other plans either." Unfortunately, the Timbers had other ideas.
As kickoff drew closer, former RSL player Ian Joy posted on his Twitter account: "Not going to lie. It will take a very good performance from the @TimbersFC to beat the best team in the league @RealSaltLake."
The Timbers came out inspired during the first half and took it to RSL's backline that was missing regulars Jamison Olave and Robbie Russell. RSL fan @RSLshow tweeted: "Good to see @javi_mo11 (Javier Morales) with an early smile on his face."
That all changed when Kenny Cooper scored in the 22nd minute off a quick restart by the Timbers. @KIRSoccer posted: "Haven't seen that poor defending in a loooonnng time" almost as soon as the goal was scored.
As the first half clock ticked closer to halftime, anyone following RSL-related tweets could tell that the fans were not happy with the field's lineup. @RSLDonk tweeted around the halftime whistle that: "Midfield is sucking horribly bad." But others, such as @RSLshowScott, still believed that RSL would get at least one goal to equalize. He tweeted: "No way Portland keeps RSL from scoring this match."
With Andy Williams and Will Johnson moving onto the pitch to start the second half, the team looked much sharper and did get more chances as the game wore on. It seemed like the tying goal was coming anytime, but @cheecho6 summed up what some fans had to be feeling by posting: "#RSL knocking on the door. I feel a goal coming. Then again, I thought felt one coming Wednesday night as well." Another fan, @corryszam noticed that: "#RSL don't look the same and #timbers are playing their best game of the year."
With Ned Grabavoy entering the game as the final substitute, it seemed that RSL was willing to throw numbers forward to try and get the goal that they would need to keep their nine-game road unbeaten and 18-game MLS unbeaten streaks alive.
Time ticked away with the Royals not being able to finish their chances, and soon @saltlakejake compared RSL to an English Premiere League team, tweeting: "RSL is playing like arsenal right now. And no, that's not a good thing." Shortly after the final whistle, @theshums posted this via Twitter: "Chance after chance, corner after corner, no goals...I'm just going to go to bed now. Clearly this week is cursed."
Even after a tough week that had Real Salt Lake earning its first back-to-back losses since last April at Columbus and at Houston, the season is still young with 29 regular MLS Cup matches, plus U.S. Open Cup play. RSL has still has a very good chance to meet its goals. And as RSL fan @MUFCW10 tweeted: "I love when people beat us, they celebrate like they beat the best team in the league. Cuz we are. Salt Lake Til I Die."
Landon Walters is a history and political science major currently studying at Salt Lake Community College and is an avid sports fan. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on twitter @LandawgDew
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