A point on the road is never a bad result, but Real Salt Lake's 0-0 draw with Seattle on Wednesday night certainly comes close.
RSL knew a win against the Sounders would lock up a No. 2 or 3 seed in the Western Conference for the MLS Cup playoffs. After absorbing some pretty good pressure from the Sounders in the opening half-hour of the match, the team got a golden opportunity to take those full three points when Seattle defender Zach Scott was sent off for his second yellow with nearly an hour of soccer remaining.
Real failed to capitalize, and coach Jason Kreis knew it.
"I'm pleased with everybody's effort, I'm pleased with the result,” he said. “I'm not thrilled because I think on a different night, we handle it different and get all three points. Anytime you spend 60 some-odd minutes, I think we were, up a man, we probably need to do a little bit better in the attacking end and score the goal that would make the difference.”
Kreis’ men lacked any real sense of urgency in their attack. Too many times players were content to keep possession of the ball without pressing the issue. Personnel could be partly to blame for that.
While RSL got Luis Gil, Kyle Beckerman and Nick Rimando back from national team duties, both Will Johnson and Álvaro Saborío were still away with Canada and Costa Rica, respectively.
“Sabo, we know how critical he is for us,” said Kreis. “Just holding the ball up and being a target all the time for us, I thought we lacked that a little bit tonight, and just the finishing touch he puts on for us so many times is important as well.
“Will makes things happen a lot of times just with his aggressive running with the ball,” Kreis continued. “When he recognizes some space in front of him, he actually takes it and makes defenders make choices and that's when good things happen, and that's what we needed a little bit more of tonight.”
RSL's attack did get a definite boost when substitutes Sabastian Velasquez (71st minute) and David Viana (82nd minute) entered. Viana made his debut and appeared to be willing to take on a man in the attacking third, while Velasquez nearly became the hero when his shot from the area in the 93rd minute nearly beat 'keeper Michael Gspurning.
But in the end, it wasn’t enough.
“We told the players yesterday that three points would certainly be our objective here, but one point would be very, very good as well because we would control our own destiny on the last weekend,” Kreis offered. “Credit to the guys, they got the point that was needed.”