Real Salt Lake scored a gritty 1-0 win Saturday night. The side wasn’t dominant, and the match was in doubt until the final whistle, but the side took another step in the right direction.
Here are a couple of things we learned Saturday night.
The Run of Form Continues
Salt Lake is unbeaten in three consecutive matches (2 wins and a draw) and outplayed its opponents in the last four. As the side gears up for the playoffs, this is the direction it needs to be heading in. The group is now just a play or two away from an avalanche of goals, confidence, and dominant results that viewers have come to expect.
With the LA Galaxy and Seattle Sounders keeping the playoff race tight, the pressure will stay on, which should definitely help.
Espindola is in the Doghouse
Paulo Jr has started the last three matches, and Espindola didn’t even travel to Philadelphia. He was forced to leave at halftime during the last match he started because the referee was threatening a red card.
It isn’t clear what happened behind the scenes, but Paulo has thrived, creating critical goals against Tauro and DC United.
The Back Line is Close
Three consecutive shut-outs for Salt Lake might be the most impressive part of this trend. With Chris Schuler finally getting match fit, and Jamison Olave expected to be healthy in the coming weeks, the defense appears ready to turn the corner.
Salt Lake’s back line has always been the source of its success. Failures in the back have been the biggest problem the side has faced this season. If the side can get its defense together, they will be ready to contend when the playoffs begin.
Thursday’s match in Houston could be the next step for a side that’s getting close to where it needs to be.