Real Salt Lake, perennial bottom dwellers of the MLS, felt the winds of change blowing in their direction, but the momentum boost they had hoped for ended in a disappointing scoreless draw with the Kansas City Wizards. Sitting in the fifth spot in the west division with 11 points, Real was looking to jump right back into the thick of the conference race with five of their next seven games at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
Going into Saturday’s game, Real Salt Lake trailed Western Conference-leading Colorado by just four points. A win would have catapulted Real into second place with a favorable schedule ahead. Instead, Real was awarded one point for a tie and remains in sixth place in the West.
After fending off Kansas City’s early aggression, Real settled in to control possession throughout the first half. Several opportunities for midfielder Kyle Beckerman and forward Kenny Deuchar to put the ball in the net were stifled by the Wizard’s goalkeeper, Kevin Hartman.
The second half left a sour taste in the mouths of Real fans, as Salt Lake was once again unable to punch one in.
“There are a lot of positive things to take out of that game,” said Real coach Jason Kries. “The only thing you can shake your head about or scratch your head about is the final touch, because if that was there I think we would’ve had quite a few goals tonight.”
In the 62nd minute, forward Robbie Findley’s shot was errant, and in the 71st minute his header in the box sailed over the top of the crossbar. RSL out shot Kansas City on the night 19-7, but couldn’t find the back of the net.
“We did everything right except for put the ball away,” Beckerman said. “The effort and the way we played were good, and if we continue like that we’ll be all right.”
The Wizards applied pressure late, but a diving deflection in stoppage time by RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando preserved the scoreless draw.