NEW YORK – It might not have been the most aesthetically pleasing performance, but Real Salt Lake coach Jeff Cassar will take a 3-2 win over New York City FC at Yankee Stadium and the six points his team accumulated from a brutal five-match road trip, taken so the grass at Rio Tinto Stadium could be replaced and given time to settle.
“We got two wins out of five and six points. I think that’s really important,” Cassar said after Thursday's win. “Anytime you’re going into a stretch of five games, it’s not really about exactly how you play, it’s about getting points and getting out of it. Now we have ourselves in a really, really good position.”
The start Thursday night wasn’t what Cassar wanted and there were plenty of mistakes. He said RSL’s backline played too deep, allowing NYCFC to create a bevy of scoring chances. But the team went into the locker room without conceding and for Cassar, that was about as good as it could get at that point.
“We didn’t pay the price like we did against Columbus [last weekend]. We turned the ball over poorly against Columbus in some areas and we paid the price,” Cassar said. “Tonight, we turned the ball over. We spoke about not playing sideways and negative balls and we did that a little too much in the first half.”
Cassar said his team opened the second half like he wanted them to start the game, being more aggressive in the attacking third, winning balls higher up the field.
And while there weren’t many scoring chances, RSL capitalized on the ones they had with Yura Movsisyan and Juan Manuel Martinez scoring in an eight-minute span followed by an own goal by Frederic Brillant from a Javier Morales cross.
“We improved in the second half and we played more with the ball,” Morales said. “We scored three goals and we played much better in the second half.”
RSL now head into the Copa America Centenario break on a high with four of the next five games back at Rio Tinto Stadium, where they are a perfect 4-0-0.
“It was very important especially since we were playing five straight road games,” Martinez said. “We needed the win.”