Making the most of an opportunity is what Real Salt Lake's players and coaches want when playing an international friendly like Wednesday night's 1-0 win over UANL Tigres of the Mexican First Division.
Several players did just that.
Yura Movsisyan took advantage of a role in the starting 11. Movsisyan has unfortunately developed the reputation as a tremendous creator, but poor finisher, at least when it comes to playing with the first team he has six goals in only four games with the reserves. There were times it appeared he might add to the negative comments.
The 21-year-old forward missed a one-on-one chance in the 13th minute, and he had his penalty kick saved in the 47th to his credit, it was Movsisyan that earned the free kick to start the second half. He took the ball down the left side and tried to fire in a cross that was handled by Tigres' Jesus Chavez.
Ultimately, Movsisyan will be remembered for the goal he did score, not what he missed in this friendly. It was the third-year player that opened the scoring in the 18th minute. He volleyed a shot past the Tigres' keeper after it came all the way to him at the back post following a corner from Alex Nimo.
"Watching Yura for the last couple weeks, he is playing very well at the moment," said coach Jason Kreis. "He is very active, making smart decisions, and he's finishing stuff. He finished well over the weekend in the reserve game, and I thought tonight's finish was fantastic."
Along with Movsisyan, Robbie Findley earned his coach's praise for his dangerous runs and creativity, and Tino Nunez showed some spark. That comes after the play of Kenny Deuchar and Fabina Espindola was stellar in the last match against Colorado.
"Right now we have a lot players playing good at the forward position," said Kreis.
The result isn't always the focus in a friendly, but the RSL defense stepped up to post the shutout and preserve the win. Much better than it had done in its previous two friendlies at Rice-Eccles Stadium, when the club gave up four and two goals, respectively.
"I thought the spirit and the attitude of the entire group tonight was better than it has been in our two international friendlies," added Kreis. "A few of the guys that hadn't looked so comfortable and so steady in our other international friendlies looked good tonight."
Although he wasn't tested often, saving only two shots on goal, RSL keeper Chris Seitz felt the team rose to the occasion.
"It felt really nice to start. It is always an opportunity," said Seitz. "Jason has always said that if you perform well in your opportunities then you are going to give you chances with the first team. I wanted to go out and impress, and it is nice getting a shutout against a very good Tigres team."
With 19 players seeing action for Real, it may not have been a true test for the team's upcoming road game at the Los Angeles Galaxy on Saturday, but there were still plenty of positives coming out of the friendly."It was nice to come away with the win even if it isn't part of the league," said Clint Mathis.
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