Listening to Real Salt Lake coach Jason Kreis and captain Kyle Beckerman following the team's 1-0 loss to D.C. United, it was almost hard to tell that they had once again fallen in the nation's capital.
A goal by United's Lionard Pajoy in the 60th minute was all that hit the net, the 31-year-old Colombian followed up a shot by John Thorrington after a diving save by Nick Rimando.
"I'm proud of the guys' effort, proud of the performance," Kreis said on his post-game TV interview. "I think we did enough tonight to get a point. [It was a] really unlucky situation with [Sebastian Velasquez] just barely holding Pajoy on for the goal.
"We are always going to be talking about dead-ball situations and trying to be the best team defensively on those in the league. A little bit disappointed to give away a goal on that, but other than that, I thought our guys really, really performed quite well."
Beckerman agreed that RSL played well enough to win, or at least draw, but just had a bit of misfortune.
"The fight was there for us. We came out to pressure them pretty much for 90 minutes straight, and we were pretty good at doing it. We really put in a lot of hard work tonight," said Beckerman during his television interview. "It's a tough place to play. They're a good team, especially at home. We tried. We gave it everything we had, but we were just a bit unlucky."
Another positive for both Kreis and Beckerman was the immediate change from the entire team after going down a goal. RSL put plenty of pressure on D.C. in the final 30 minutes as they searched for an equalizer.
"I thought the response was good. I really thought we were going to get one, maybe in the 94th, but it just wasn't meant to be," said Beckerman.
"I think that as a coach, when you go into a season you want to see how your team will react the very first time they go down a goal. Tonight was the first time we did that and I really, really liked our response," Kreis said. "I liked the decisions by our outside backs to get forward early and often, and players making aggressive decisions with the ball to try to combine and make chances. Everything was very good from that moment forward."
So with Rocky Mountain Cup rivals Colorado set to visit Rio Tinto Stadium on Sat., March 16 at 4 pm, how does the team bounce back from the disheartening loss?
"I don't know that I need a response," said Kreis. "I think it was a very good performance. I think we just need to be very focused on putting another performance together. For me, that would be three good, solid performances and efforts in a row."