BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. As is often the case in a match without goals, someone made the comment late in Saturday's Real Salt Lake-Chicago Fire match that there hadn't been much to talk about.
And that might have been the case had Marcel Marceau been the person asked to describe the match.
In reality, there was no end of talking points, starting with the fact that this particular 0-0 result left RSL in first place in the Western Division and within three points of its 2007 total with one match still remaining before the All-Star break.
"I'm very pleased with the way our team is coming together and shaping up," RSL coach Jason Kreis said. "I think that we played a fantastic first half. And then in the second half, we did what we had to do."
In front of a near-sellout 19,578 crowd at Toyota Park, RSL (6-6-6, 24 pts.) proved its rise in the standings is no fluke. And in the wild Western Conference, the Utahns are still on top, albeit by a single point over Los Angeles.
"We're getting good results around the league," RSL forward Robbie Findley said. "We've just got to make sure we capitalize the next time something like this happens, capitalize on our chances and come out with three points."
RSL has 12 matches remaining, and seven are on the road. Playing well and gaining points in these matches may be the key to whether the team makes the playoffs or not.
"We're working together, from the (goalkeeper Nick Rimando) all the way up to the forwards," RSL captain Kyle Beckerman said. "We're starting to believe in each other and the way we're going to play. We know we're going to play on the ground, pass to each other and trust each other and try to play good soccer."
This was a performance that showed the attack-minded approach RSL brings into matches. Through a pulsating first half, the visitors attacked constantly, and Yura Movsisyan hit the crossbar.
Chicago (7-5-4, 25 pts.) had its chances. Chris Rolfe hit the side netting after beating Rimando on a breakaway. Chad Barrett hit the post, and the most surprising thing after 45 minutes was that neither team had scored.
In the second half, RSL increased its attacking posture. Robbie Findley entered the match and made an immediate impact on the match. He produced the moment of the second half in the 62nd minute when he turned on a ball in the box, shot low and forced Jon Busch to make a sprawling save.
"I was surprised that I was that wide open," Findley said. "I thought it was going in. I think it hit his elbow and bounced off the post and went out."
Kenny Deuchar entered the game in the 66th minute and RSL continued to search for a breakthrough goal. Deuchar's best moment came in the 83rd minute when he turned Dan Woolard inside out on the edge of the penalty area and won a free kick.
Only in the final 10-15 minutes, with Chicago pouring forward to try to win, did RSL move to a more defensive posture.
"We've had trouble late in games, letting goals in," Rimando said.. "That was one of the points this week, that if we get to the 75th minute, we don't let in any goals after that. They had their chances, but we turned them away."
Chicago has an abundance of scoring threats, and they all had chances in the second half.
"We're always aware of (Cuauhtemoc) Blanco," RSL defender Nat Borchers said. "If he was in any zone, we knew we were responsible for him. We made it a priority to shut him down."
Blanco only had two shots on goal in the match but was dangerous with his passing and the rest of the Fire attack moved into high gear in the final quarter of the match.
"We know the rest of the guys they have are very good guys, very attack-minded players," Borchers said. "We just made it a priority and dealt with it."