NORMAN, Okla. Real Salt Lake finished the exhibition season Saturday with a positive performance, but it was in a 1-0 loss to the Kansas City Wizards.
Jimmy Conrad scored the game's only goal in the 64th minute when he nodded a header inside the six-yard box past RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando. The ball was delivered by Carlos Marinelli on a free kick near the right touchline.
"To lose a match like that on a free kick is obviously a very disappointing thing," RSL coach Jason Kreis said. "It's a very small thing that we have to get focused on and focused on quickly."
But in the 10 minutes preceding the goal, Real Salt Lake created the best four scoring opportunities it had in the game.
Carey Talley had the first of the four chances in the 55th minute when he struck a free kick from about 35 yards that skipped into the arms of Wizards goalie Kevin Hartman. Three minutes later, Hartman slightly misjudged a dangerous cross from the left by Javier Morales but tipped it out for a corner kick.
Fabian Espindola's shot in the 60th minute was close but slightly off target, drawing a reaction from the approximately 2,500 fans at the University of Oklahoma's John Crain Field. Morales tested Hartman from about 30 yards a minute later, but shot directly at him.
Real Salt Lake lined up in a 4-4-2 with outside defenders Tony Beltran and Ian Joy going forward at almost every opportunity.
"I don't know if that's something we're going to stick with long term but that's what we ended up with tonight," Kreis said.
Talley said he felt good about the squad's preparation for the season. RSL opens the regular season Saturday at home against the Chicago Fire.
"We had a decent amount of games." Talley said. "I have been on teams where we have played 15 games preseason and by the time the season rolls around, everybody is halfway beat up like they have been playing a season."
And from a coach's standpoint, Kreis was also upbeat.
"I think there was a lot of good things tonight," Kreis said. "We traded a lot of very good scoring chances. From my standpoint, there was a lot of good soccer on our side."
But no goals for a team that scored 31 in 30 league games in 2007.
"Just not quite in the final third and in the box," Kreis said. "It's not an easy thing to score goals. It takes a lot of focus and attention at the right moment."