Defensive effort key for Salt Lake in 0-0 draw at Chicago
Real Salt Lake settled for a scoreless draw on the road against the Chicago Fire on Wednesday night, ending a streak of five games without posting any zeroes.
It was a welcome development, even if it wasn’t the most entertaining 90 minutes ever played.
“Any time you can go to a difficult place like Chicago and get a point and get a shutout, it’s important,” said head coach Jason Kreis after the match. “We’ve gone quite a few games now without having a shutout. I’m really pleased for the guys, they put the defensive work in and we set an objective to get a shutout and we got it."
Kreis felt like part of the key was shutting down the dangerous play of Marco Pappa and Patrick Nyarko on the wings from the Fire’s 4-2-3-1 formation.
“There’s a lot of talk about how you’re going to deal with their wingers,” explained Kreis. “I think our outside midfielders, [Jonny] Steele and [Ned] Grabavoy, did a fantastic job – tremendous effort by them to get back and double team as many times as they did tonight.”
Reserve central defender Chris Schuler felt that the defensive efforts were shared across the team, and all parties seemed to make their contributions.
“I thought the defense played pretty well from top to front,” Schuler offered. “I thought we were pretty compact the whole game. So we were a tough block to break down today. I thought they had one clear cut chance – the [Dominic] Oduro chance in the beginning of the game [which hit the crossbar], but besides that I thought we were very solid.”
It’s hard to evaluate the performance of Reynish simply because he wasn’t often pressed into service, with only two shots on goal for each team. However, when he did see action he kept the ball out of the back of the net.
“He was good,” Kreis said. “I don’t think he had to make too many incredible stops but when he was called upon, he made them. He gets an opportunity and takes advantage of it.”
The shutout means Reynish remains unbeaten as a professional in five starts, and he also notched the second clean sheet of his career.
And that was the plan, according to Kreis.
“Anytime we’re on the road we feel like it starts with our defensive effort – it starts with trying to keep a shutout – and then we go from there,” he explained. “So I think that the guys put in a tremendous amount of effort to make that happen tonight.”
HIGHLIGHTS: CHI vs RSL