By Laken Stewart
SALT LAKE CITY — Real Salt Lake beat the nation”s top-ranked team, the Houston Dynamos, 1-0 Saturday night on a late goal by Robbie Findlay.
Findlay was in the right place at the right time in the 84th minute when he received a deflected pass from teammate Christ Lancos. Findlay scurried past Houston defenders and kicked the ball clear of the Dynamo”s diving goalie into the bottom-left corner of the net, making his fifth career goal.
“It came off Chris”s toe in my direction,” Findlay said. “The defenders split, I took the shot and it couldn”t have been better.”
Findlay”s goal put an end to Houston”s 11-game winning streak and instilled belief and confidence into Real, the league”s last-place team. RSL coach Jason Kreis was thrilled with the win and proud of his team and the individual effort each player contributed to earning the victory.
“I tip my hat to every player that stepped on the field,” Kreis said. “The entire team gave it all they had tonight and it paid off.”
Assistant coach Jeff Cassar also praised his team for the hard work and concentration he knows is required to win a game.
“It wasn”t like we lucked into the win; we played great,” Cassar said.
Both coaches and players have noticed how hard practices and training have resulted in improved game play and performance, giving Real hope amidst the loss of several key players to transfers and trades.
“We”ve noticed how we”ve improved,” Kreis said. “You can see in our guys” faces that they believe in what”s going on here.”
Salt Lake came out aggressive and played great defense to hold back the nation”s leaders. Kyle Beckerman had two peeks at a goal within the first 15 minutes, and Real”s Kyle Brown also had two golden opportunities to score in the first half, but wasn”t able to capitalize on either.
Real stayed just as focused and forceful in the second half when both Carey Talley and Beckerman had good runs and powerful shots for a goal, but were never able to find the back of the net. Real also thwarted Houston”s goal search in the 74th minute by blocking a penalty kick by Dynamo Wade Barrett only 20 yards from the goal.
Shortly after Findlay”s late goal, Real players Ritchie Korshau, Chris Wingert, and Beckerman got a little too excited and were issued a yellow card each as a warning for misconduct.
The game ended in extra minutes with Real dominating the play of the ball and Findlay threatening another goal, but time ended before he was able to execute.
Real will have a two-week break before taking on the Chicago Fire in Salt Lake City on Aug. 18. Real”s record is 2-9-6 after Saturday”s game.