Real Salt Lake earn point in Daryl Shore's debut, survive rough week

HARRISON, N.J. –  It wasn’t easy on the eyes, but Real Salt Lake churned out a scoreless draw at the New York Red Bulls on Saturday afternoon in Daryl Shore’s debut as interim head coach.

And considering RSL’s toughness and resilience, the result was in some ways a beautiful end to a challenging week.

After RSL announced Monday it had moved on from Jeff Cassar and internally promoted Shore, he took over a team that was emotional about such a move just three matches into the season.

Making things even tougher, injuries and international absences meant the gameday roster on Saturday at Red Bull Arena was far from ideal.

“For us, it was keeping things simple, being honest with the guys, letting them know what the game plan was coming into this game,” Shore said. “Our guys did everything we asked them to do this week.”

Shore had been on RSL’s staff since 2014 as an assistant and goalkeeping coach under Cassar, which he said made it  “a difficult week” as he tried to navigate the emotions of the team facing an uncertain future.

But he credited his combination of experience with the club and previously as head coach of the NASL’s Ft. Lauderdale Strikers with giving him credibility in the dressing room.

“Jeff was very instrumental in having this staff be a part of the group,” Shore said. “The guys in the locker room know that I’ve been a head coach before, maybe not in Major League Soccer, but they all know that I’ve talked to players in hard situations and everything.”

Shore stuck with RSL’s familiar 4-2-3-1 formation, this incarnation featuring Sunny and Luke Mulholland as the deep-lying midfielders, with Luis Silva given room to roam in the midfield.

Although RSL’s posture became more defensive as the match wore on, it was a gritty, gutsy performance from the visitors, who were out-possessed 63-37.

Shore said he hasn’t discussed becoming full-time boss with anyone, although he does think it’s one of the most appealing gigs in the league.

“I think you’d be crazy not to want the job. It’s a great organization, we’ve got good people, we got good players, we got a great fanbase,” Shore said.

“Obviously I’d love the opportunity to coach this team, but again, that’s out of my control. The front office will hire who they see fit to hire. If they ask me to go back to my role as goalkeeper coach and director of goalkeeping, then that’s what I’ll do.”