1. RSL showed a different kind of resilience
For the entire season going into Saturday, if RSL conceded the first goal, the game was effectively over. It didn’t matter when that goal came, or if the team got one back. In 10 games, Real didn’t come away with a win if it fell behind first.
But that changed against NYCFC. After giving up a goal within the first five minutes, Salt Lake scored three unanswered goals and earned the full three points.
“I think it was a really good response,” Kyle Beckerman said. “I think nobody panicked.”
Beckerman said despite the team not being sharp to start the game, it was able to settle in and start creating chances. Tying the game before halftime helped matters as well.
Assistant coach Tryone Marshall called the conceded goal “unfortunate.” But he was pleased that RSL got back to its game plan quickly and called the team’s reaction to the goal “fantastic.”
Beckerman thinks getting that type of game under their belt will help Real in future games should they fall behind first again.
“It’s a good result with that in mind,” Beckerman said. “So now when we go forward in the season and we go behind, we know we’ve come back from being a goal down to win. So it’ll give us some confidence going forward.”
2. Nick Rimando still has it
It’s still hard to believe sometimes that Rimando has played professional soccer for 20 years and that he’s 40 years old. On Saturday, he looked just as spry as he did earlier in his career when he was winning championships.
Rimando provided six saves against NYCFC, only the third time this season he’s recorded more than four. Goalkeepers probably don’t want to have too many games when they’re relied upon that much to keep opponents from scoring, because usually that means there are defensive breakdowns higher up the field.
But in the event one has to make that many saves, a keeper’s job is to deliver. And boy, did Rimando deliver Saturday.
Just look at the first save he had to make not three minutes into the game. More times than not, that’s a goal.
Rimando doesn’t have many more games left in his career. He’s retiring at the end of the season. So every time he makes a spectacular save, fans should cherish it from now on. Because when he’s gone, there’s no telling when there will be another keeper like him.
3. A win many weeks in the making
The results in recent weeks may not have been completely indicative of it, but RSL has put together some really good games lately. Other than the home game against Minnesota they feel should have been a win, the blowout against Philadelphia and the draw against Dallas were both solid efforts. And although the Leagues Cup game against Tigres was a 1-0 loss, the team created enough chances to win that game.
So when Salt Lake was faced with the second-best team in the Eastern Conference on Saturday and won the way it did, it was the culmination of those last few games where it had chances but just couldn’t finish them.
Marshall said the message to the team before the game was to put away its chances to score. Those chances found the back of the net against NYCFC.
“[Saturday night was] a great culmination of everything,” Marshall said.