SANDY, Utah — Real Salt lake have a few new tricks up their sleeves and they displayed some of them against Seattle last Saturday night in their 2-1 win over the Sounders.
During the first half, RSL tried some new set pieces – short corner kicks in particular. The first couple created a dangerous opportunity in front of the net, but it was the third one on the night that hit paydirt.
Sebastian Velasquez took the corner, but he didn't hit it into the middle. Instead, Ned Grabavoy ran straight out down the endline toward the corner, catching the Seattle defense flat-footed. Velasquez hit a low-driving ball to Grabavoy, who then flicked it up in the air toward a charging Luis Gil, who perfectly timed his run before laying out and hitting a diving header from the right side of the box into the lower left corner of the net.
It was a stunning and ruthless bit of execution.
“We’ve been trying some new things,” said Gil. “I feel like that is another thing for us, another option. We tried it a couple of times and we executed on that one.”
Gil said that indeed Grabavoy was aiming for him and not just putting the ball into space.
“There’s different options,” said Gil. “There’s me, there’s Sebastian, or a pass back. I feel like it is a great thing for us. Instead of just lobbing the ball in, it’s a great option for us.”
The play worked to perfection that time, much to the pleasure and chagrin of coach Jason Kreis.
“I don’t know, it’s the first time I ever saw it,” joked Kreis when asked about putting in the play during training. “It’s crazy. The guys are creative out there. No, we did [work on it]. It’s a play that Javier [Morales] actually brought to us. We have been looking at doing some different things with our corner kicks. I would qualify it as a weakness in the coaching staff, in the head coach in particular that he hates to work on dead balls, attacking dead balls, but we did.
“On Thursday, we spent 30 to 45 minutes on them, and I think that apart from even the goal we were dangerous on a couple others in the first half as well, so it will be something that we look to build on, unfortunately for me.”