Well, Freddy Adu
used his touches well, but Nicolas Hernandez
and Jeff Cunningham
usually didn't, and Atiba Harris
treated the ball as he would a bucket of snakes: avoid
it if at all possible.
Colorado and Real Salt Lake, which usually trade barbs and insults and rough tackles and cautions in their Rocky Mountain Cup rivalry, instead traded own goals in
the first 15 minutes and mostly focused on soccer the rest of the way. In its second game under head coach Jason Kreis
, RSL tied for the second time, 1-1, Thursday night at Dick's Sporting
Adu, stationed wide on the left and well supported by left back Willis Forko
and Carey Talley
, ran at defenders repeatedly, drilled a low shot that caromed into the
net off defender Pablo Mastroeni
, and stung the left glove of Bouna Coundoul
with a rising blast. RSL clicked offensively, at least through the middle third with Cunningham playing the
occasional good ball, but his dribbles ran aground and Harris just didn't connect with Cunningham or anybody else.
Defensively, RSL ceded possession on the flanks, but plugged up the
middle, with Eddie Pope
and Daniel Torres
and midfielder Talley clamping down on Jovan Kirovski, Roberto Brown
and Hernandez. Herculez Gomez
drove a cross that keeper
tipped and defender Jack Stewart
banged into his own net, and also broke through twice to put the ball in the net himself, but both times he was adjudged offside. On two
other occasions, Gomez's shots from sharp angles were well saved by Rimando, who got the start in goal over U.S. under-20 Chris Seitz
RSL midfielder Mehdi Ballouchy
fair share of defensive work, picking up three fouls in the process, but betrayed his team when on the ball, passing up shots to hit ill-advised passes and shooting well wide on a shot from distance.
's passes and shots lacked sting, yet still he covered plenty of ground on both flanks.
RSL kept Coundoul busy while pushing Colorado back into its own half for
extended periods, and seldom was caught upfield when the ball turned over. Daniel Torres
, especially, won battles with Brown in the box, and Hernandez dropped back into midfield to escape
the tenacious marking of him and Pope. Hernandez did play one clever through ball that Rimando collected, and mustered his first shot on goal of the season, but seldom did he and Brown work in
tandem. Kirovski never got into the flow.
RSL still has problems to solve, but determination and spirit and a sense of team shape has been instilled by Kreis. Colorado, with a loss and
tie in its last two home games, next heads to New York under a cloud of many questions. May 10 in Commerce City, Colo.
Colorado 1 Real Salt Lake 1
. Goals: Own Goal 4; Own
Colorado - Coundoul, Gargan, Mastroeni, Petke, Vanney, Cooke (Peterson, 90), Beckerman, Kirovski (Cancela, 57), Gomez, Brown, Hernandez.
Real Salt Lake - Rimando, Stewart
(Kipre, 61), Pope, Torres, Forko, Talley, Ballouchy, Klein, Adu, Cunningham, Harris (Brown, 67).
Referee: Jair Marrufo.