For about 15 or 20 seconds Wednesday night, Real Salt Lake thought it had finally broken through San Jose's gritty 10-man defense and scored what would've surely been the winning goal.

In the 72nd minute, Kyle Beckerman powerfully volleyed in a Robbie Findley header on a corner kick. And despite the protests of several San Jose players, the linesman's flag stayed down, indicating that Beckerman was onside at the near post.

But as RSL celebrated, the head official consulted with the linesman and decided to reverse the call.

In a statement released to the media after the match, head official Jasen Anno explained his decision.

"The decision was not overturned, but when the ball was put into the goal the assistant referee (Chris Strickland) did not think that Kyle Beckerman touched the ball. The center (referee) came over to discuss the play. Assistant referee asked if Kyle Beckerman touched the ball, as he was in an offside position. The referee confirmed that Beckerman did touch the ball, so the decision was made to disallow the goal and award the offside infraction."

Adding to the frustration for Beckerman was the reality that Findley's header might've been going in anyway had he not intervened.

"I saw it coming, maybe it was going in. I'm not sure. I wasn't going to chance it hitting the post, and really I thought I was onside," said Beckerman.

The referees disagreed, so chalk it up as another night where RSL is disappointed with a critical decision.

SOLID STARTS: Despite an up-and-down season, there's no question RSL has been a strong team defensively in the opening 30 minutes as matches this year.

Including Wednesday's game with San Jose, RSL has yet to surrender a goal in the opening 30 minutes of any match this year — the only MLS team with such a lofty claim. It's a far cry from last year's porous early season defense. RSL surrendered 10 total goals in the opening 30 minutes of its first 13 matches in 2007.

On the back end of matches, RSL is in exactly the same spot it was in 2007, having surrendered nine goals in the final 30 minutes through 13 games.

TAKING IT EASY: Striker Kenny Deuchar was replaced in the 57th minute by rookie Tino Nunez, initially a surprising decision when you consider that RSL was desperately trying to push forward for the winning goal.

With another game this Saturday against New England, coach Jason Kreis said it was important to give the Scottish forward some extra rest.

"We have to be very conscious of Kenny's fitness. He's one of two players on our team that has gone right from another season into ours. It's a very long summer, so we've got to be conscious how many minutes we're asking us to play," said Kreis.


E-mail: jedward@desnews.com