Real Salt Lake's start to Wednesday's match at Columbus looked promising after a goal inside the first 10 minutes. But that was about the only window of optimism RSL had, as the Crew rallied for two second-half goals to win 2-1.
The goals for Columbus were both a bit unlucky for RSL. The first came from the penalty spot after defender Jámison Olave took a stab with his right foot trying to defend the play but caught Justin Meram's foot instead. The second came off of a deflected shot that had goalkeeper Nick Rimando diving in the wrong direction. Still, the Crew generated the bulk of the opportunities in the match, and the result was a fair one.
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“The two goals were tough,” defender Chris Wingert told RSL affiliate KMYU-TV after the match, “but I thought they outplayed us. They were in our half too much. We were unable to possess the ball, and it came back to bite us.”
Despite being up by a goal at the halftime break, the mood and momentum appeared to be on the side of Columbus.
“We were up 1-0, but to be honest, we didn’t think we played that great,” said Wingert. “We were missing a lot of balls and they were creating chances off of our loss of possession. I thought we had to clean it up and we weren’t really able to do that.”
Head coach Jason Kreis didn’t like what he saw after RSL's opening goal, which came from Olave off of a corner kick in the seventh minute.
“I think we felt like the game was going to be easy,” he told KMYU-TV. “And these games never are. We keep telling our guys, it’s about how bad you want it in a lot of these matches, and tonight, quite frankly, it didn’t look like we wanted it that bad.”
By Kreis' estimate, the problem was a lack of commitment.
“From my point of view right now, we continue to talk about making commitment plays," he continued, "and tonight was another game where I thought it just wasn’t there. I think the guys have got to pick themselves up at the moment."
Kreis made three substitutions in the second half, and felt that they failed to make the difference that he was looking for.
“When you put guys in the game you expect them to make an impact,” Kreis went on to tell ESPN 700 Sports radio in Salt Lake City. “You expect them to raise the level of the emotion. You expect them to raise the level of the energy on the field. You expect them to do everything that they can to make defensive plays to keep results, and the guys that went into the game tonight just didn’t get it done.”
Now the team must rebound as they have a Saturday afternoon matinee in Philadelphia.
“We’re going to need to regroup pretty quickly," Kreis said. "We’ve got to regenerate. We’ve got guys in the ice bath right now, and we’ll take care of them over the next couple of days, because that 4 o’clock kickoff on Saturday is going to be a huge challenge."