Watson keys RSL late comeback
Heading into their friendly with Universidad Catolica, Real Salt Lake looked to gain some offensive momentum.
With that in mind, RSL coach John Ellinger tinkered with his lineup in hopes of gaining some offensive spark. But it wasn't until the 70th minute that University of North Carolina product Jamie Watson finally lit things up.
"I just knew that I had 20 minutes to do the best I can," said Watson. "(Ellinger) said 'All right, go in there and get some goals,' but I am not sure he thought I would get three."
Watson didn't exactly net three goals - but he was integrally involved in all of them as Real came back from a 2-0 halftime deficit to record a 3-2 victory against the Chilean power.
Watson assisted Kenny Cutler on RSL's first goal, drew a foul to set up the penalty kick that gave Dipsy Selolwane the equalizer from the spot and lofted a nice ball to Nelson Akwari for the game winner. Not a bad night for a rookie.
"Jamie was a big, big spark for us the last 20 minutes," said Ellinger. "He proved he belongs in this league tonight."
And his ball to Akwari for the game winner looked like the stuff of a seasoned veteran.
"You know Jamie and I stay after practice and work on those," said Akwari. "He knew that I usually run to the far post, so he just set it up there for me and I put it away."
That extra time at practice went a long way toward earning Watson respect, but from the moment he stepped on the field he made Ellinger's choice of a late substitute look good.
"If I can make him look like a genius, I'll take that any day," Watson said. "Hopefully I played my way into coach's good graces and I will get to play a little more."
Regardless of his future minutes, his teammates gave him the tradition salute to rookie success when they ambushed a TV interview with a plate of shaving cream.
David Hale is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.