Welcome to the first week on the job. Now, go out and represent the company at the quarterly budget meeting.

It may not be exactly the same, but for Real Salt Lake's Will Johnson, it must have felt a little bit similar. Acquired on Aug. 22, the 21-year-old midfielder/striker was thrown into the starting lineup just one week later as RSL faced its rivals, the Colorado Rapids, on Aug. 29 in a 2-0 win. It wasn't ideal, but the situation worked out just fine.

"I was impressed with what I saw tonight," said Real coach Jason Kreis after the game. "I never expected to throw him, or really any player that joins us, in that quickly. I would never expect or would hope not to have to start him in a game like that. But I really felt that there needed to be some changes in the midfield.

"I thought he was a guy that could do that for us, and he showed us that he can," Kreis said. "He is a very versatile player and he is a two-way player, which is what we expect for our outside of the diamond midfield players."

Johnson felt like he fit in with the midfield just fine. He teamed with Kyle Beckerman, Andy Williams and Javier Morales to form a unit, which is exactly the way Kreis wants it to be in the midfield with his diamond technique.

"The other three (midfielders), I've watched them play a lot, and they're all good, smart soccer players," said Johnson. "I thought the four of us played really well together. I thought we held the possession. We held our own and knocked it around pretty good."

Besides just fitting in with his midfield mates, Johnson felt that the entire squad makes it easy to fit in and makes it easier to get good results.

"It's a good group. Everybody's willing to work for each other," added Johnson. "When you have 11 guys that are all willing to work for each other it makes it much easier to get three points."

ESPINDOLA NOMINATED: Fabian Espindola just missed out on a hat trick — he had a goal called back on a very close offsides call — but his second goal still left a big impression. It has been nominated for MLS Goal of the Week.

Espindola's goal came in the 59th minute against Colorado. He ran on to a ball sent from nearly 60 yards from Morales. While still running at nearly top speed, he showed world-class touch as he chipped the ball over the 'keeper's head from a tough angle and into the back of the net. Fans can vote for his goal or one of four others at mlsnet.com.

E-mail: mblack@desnews.com