If Real Salt Lake expects to make a run in the playoffs, or even make the post season, they can’t give up a goal in the thirteenth minute of a home game and expect to be around come November. And they definitely can’t surrender a second goal, just eight minutes later, in a much-needed win against Western Conference foe FC Dallas. But if they can fight back as they did in the second half of last weeks match-up and cruise to the 4-2 win, they may be forgiven for their lackadaisical first half performance.
“We were utterly abysmal for 45 minutes,” said RSL coach Jason Kries following the match. “The problem is that our team keeps showing what they are capable of, and they are going to be held to that. That’s the type of game that could change our season and that will be proven by what we do next week and in the coming weeks.”
After heading into the locker room at half trailing 2-0, and despite several early second half corner-kick opportunities, RSL struggled to find the back of the net. Even a breakaway by Fabian Espindola was muffed up by the Real offensive attack. However, seconds later, in the 56th minute, RSL forward Yura Movsisyan, who has ruffled feathers within the organization by expressing his desire to leave the team, escaped the pack with the ball and only the goalkeeper in front of him. Movsisyan blew the ball by the keeper to cut the RSL deficit to 2-1. Continuing the teams second half success, Robbie Findley found the net just minutes later on a penalty kick to even the score.
“We needed something like this to wake us up for the rest of the season,” said Movsisyan. “Everyone was doubting us. We showed a lot of character, a lot of heart, and we got it done.”
What would shape up to be the deciding play of the game came on an FC Dallas penalty kick midway through the second half. Jeff Cunningham, who used to suit up for RSL before being traded in 2006, lined up for the freebie and perhaps the game winner. Cunningham went right, but RSL keeper Nick Rimando made the diving stop to keep the score even at two. Rimando’s incredible save not only ensured RSL a result with FC Dallas, but also may have saved his team from a loss that may have been tough to recover from.
In the 89th minute RSL was fortunate to take the lead, 3-2, on an own goal by FC Dallas. Then, in extra time, Movsisyan found the net for the second time that night to salt the victory.
“It was a team effort,” added Movsisyan. “This was a season-changing performance.”