SANDY, Utah – Real Salt Lake got what they wanted in Wednesday night’s home match against the Montreal Impact: three points, courtesy of a 1-0 win via a Paulo Jr. penalty in the 13th minute.
However, they didn’t maintain possession particularly well, and that nearly cost them.
“The performance wasn’t good,” said midfielder Will Johnson, who picked up his first start of the season on the night. “It’s safe to say that we all realize that performance is not going to be good enough against better teams.”
Johnson cited sloppiness with the ball as the primary culprit.
“We gave the ball away on too many passes,” said Johnson. “I think it was all over the field. We just gave the ball away, and then you start chasing, and you get more tired. And then as the game goes along we don’t bury our chances and we make a night that could have been a lot of fun very difficult.”
That showed in the second half. RSL seemed a little slower to recover on counterattacks, and spent the last ten minutes or more chasing the ball.
During the first half, though, RSL managed to create a number of good chances despite carelessness with possession. They still came in at the break with only the penalty kick goal to show for it after a monster performance from Montreal ‘keeper Donovan Ricketts.
Regardless of how the opposing ‘keeper plays, though, possession – both to generate chances and kill off the game – is how this RSL group has made their name. And according to Johnson, it’s something that they need to correct between now and Saturday’s home match against the Colorado Rapids (9 pm ET; watch LIVE online).
“Three points is three points,” he said. “We’ll look at the tape. We’ll analyze things, and we’ll produce a better performance on Saturday.”
Grabavoy and Morales come away with injuries
After Real Salt Lake had exhausted their three allotted substitutions, both Javier Morales and Ned Grabavoy picked up injuries. Grabavoy told the coaching staff that he thought he had a broken rib, but had to play with it for more than 20 minutes. Morales, on the other hand, was immobile at midfield for a stretch of several minutes at the end of the game with an apparent hamstring injury.
There has been no official word from the RSL medical staff on either knock.
HIGHLIGHTS: RSL vs MTL