SANDY, Utah — In his first season as Real Salt Lake's head coach, Jeff Cassar has been almost unflappable.
He's had to be in recent weeks, as his team — which began the season with a 12-game unbeaten streak — has consistently let points slip away.
That happened again on Wednesday when Theirry Henry's 71st-minute goal gave New York a 1-1 tie and once again cost RSL points at home. The Claret-and-Cobalt have won only five of 11 home matches this season (5-1-5), and just two of their last 10 overall.
“I thought attacking-wise, we were very good,” Cassar told reporters. “I thought we were good on both sides of the ball tonight. I couldn't ask more from our players. They had one shot on goal tonight, so defensively we were very strong. On a different night, we probably could have had two or three [goals].”
Clearly, Cassar is a glass-half-full kind of guy, not the glass-half-empty sort.
““So, overall, I'm really pleased,” he said. “I'm not pleased with one point, but I'm pleased with the team's performance.”
Still, RSL is in the midst of a playing five out of six games at home, and it's not going particularly well. A tie against Vancouver, a win over lowly Montreal, a tie against New York — and four points dropped for a total of 13 that have escaped Salt Lake at home this season.
“We attacked a lot tonight,” Cassar said. “We tried to bring a lot of pressure to them, especially being at home.
“I did think our movement was good. I thought our passing was good. And we were this close.”
Close, but no second goal and yet another tie.
“I'm a little more pleased with the performance and not the result,” Cassar said. “We need to pick up some points.... We wanted three, we got one.”
Cassar did admit that it was frustrating to see New York's Theirry Henry have such a clear shot at the goal when he tied the game up.
“Yeah, it is,” he said. “He's an extremely intelligent player. Sometimes it looks like he's not interested and then, boom, he can strike at any moment. That's what it was.
“But I also think we weren't quite focused on a dead-ball situation that they played a little bit quick, caught us out of shape.”
Still, Cassar is an optimistic guy who sees more positives than negatives despite his team's struggles.
“I do think that if we play like [against New York], we'll end up having three points a lot more than we'll end up tying,” he said.