Youth was king as Real Salt Lake put an end to its MLS record scoreless streak after 556 minutes of futility.
Three rookies were in the starting lineup in the 1-1 draw with the Los Angeles Galaxy on Wednesday night at Rice-Eccles Stadium, as Jamie Watson and Cameron Knowles made their first starts, and along with Kenny Cutler helped the hosts put an end to their five-game losing streak.
It didn't start out well: the Galaxy opened the scoring after 17 minute when Naldo da Conceicao burst through a pair of defenders, and then the 35th minute came and went without a goal, sealing RSL's place in the record book when they surpassed D.C. United's 2002 mark for scoreless minutes.
But Watson made sure that streak did not continue when he scored in the 56th minute. It all started at the feet of Jason Kreis, who found Andy Williams at the top of the 18-yard box. Williams took it into the area and split two defenders to put the ball at the feet of Watson, who found the back of the net at the back post and ended the scoreless streak.
"It is good to get that off our back," Watson said. "It was my dad's birthday tonight and I can't think of a better present to give him than my first start and goal."
Watson gave the offensive unit the energy it lacked during its streak of futility.
"Jamie is obviously an individual with a very high work rate," said Real head coach John Ellinger. "We knew when we drafted him what we were getting. It took him a while to get to this point, but he's certainly established himself as someone who will be in the league for a long time."
Ellinger went on to say that with his performance against the Galaxy, Watson has likely earned a regular spot as a starter.
While Watson was up front giving Galaxy keeper Kevin Hartman a headache, Knowles was in the back helping RSL defensive unit. Knowles came into the game having never seen action with the first team, but benefited from playing alongside veteran Eddie Pope.
It was a measured risk putting an untested rookie on the field, but one that Ellinger said paid off.
"Cameron Knowles stepped in and did an outstanding job tonight," Ellinger said. "He has a bit of a bite in him."
A little bit of bite and little mentoring helped Knowles turn in a solid performance as RSL held the Galaxy attack in check. Cutler, getting the third start of his rookie season, was also a big part of a solid defensive outing as he was tasked with keeping Landon Donovan in check from his holding midfielder role.
"Kenny is getting better every game," said defender Brian Kamler. "He did a good job of keeping Landon from getting into the game. He is really becoming Mr. Consistent in there for us."
But it was Cutler who summed up the play of the trio best. "We bring a lot of energy. We've got young legs, so we can bring a lot," said Cutler.
And those young legs have helped RSL make a step in the right direction.
David Hale is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.