SANDY, Utah — There wasn't much to take away from Real Salt Lake's 1-0 loss to Colorado last Saturday. RSL were lethargic, tired, a step slow. But there was one bright spot: Justin Braun.
Acquired from Montreal on July 11, Braun logged 63 strong minutes in his debut appearance for his hometown club, manning a striker’s role in place of usual starter Fabián Espíndola.
HIGHLIGHTS: Colorado 1, Salt Lake 0
"It was a dream come true," said the Salt Lake City native. "It’s something I’ve been kind of dreaming about since five years ago up in the stands. I’ve been watching them play. So to be able to put on that jersey was an honor and I’m looking forward to being able to do that more often."
Braun seemed to have a bit more energy than his teammates, perhaps because hadn't appeared in the club’s other two games during a busy eight-day stretch. He created Real's best scoring chance of the game when he got on the end of a Jonny Steele cross with a diving header that forced a terrific save from Rapids goalkeeper Matt Pickens in the 15th minute.
Braun’s work rate was top-notch all evening, even if he didn't feel he performed at his best.
"It was OK. There was a lot that could have been better out there," he said after the match. “Obviously, it’s a new team and it’s my first time playing with the group. So I’m still learning the way that some of the guys play and their tendencies and trying to play off them. But overall, I think I’m OK with it. I’m not happy, but I’m just going to keep moving forward."
RSL took an extra day off from training this week in an effort to rest their tired legs. While the result in Colorado was not what the team or Braun wanted, they know they still have almost a third of the MLS season in front of them.
"We’ve just got to get it behind us," Braun said. "We’ve got another game coming up [on Saturday]. Hopefully, we can go up to Vancouver and get three points there."