Real Salt Lake showed poise in bounce-back victory

Jul 23 2012 - 9:30pm

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A week ago, in a key Western Conference showdown, Real Salt Lake got decked in the jaw.

A less than stellar effort and the sending off of its captain added up to a 5-0 tail-whipping at the hand of table-leading San Jose.

It was the kind of result that can leave a hangover as tempers flare and fingers get pointed, yet, once again showing the veteran poise that has been a defining characteristic in recent years, Salt Lake didn't shy away from what it needed to do.

"I'm pleased that the guys really took last weekend's result to heart," Real boss Jason Kreis said. "The guys worked extremely hard this week in training. It was the best training we've had in a very long time."

And that training carried over into its performance on the pitch against Colorado on Saturday night. It was a match that ended only 2-0 in RSL's favor, but the effort and attacks, things that had been sorely lacking against the Earthquakes, were strong enough that it could have easily been double that advantage.

On player in particular that really shined against the Rapids was central defender Jamison Olave. During the loss to the 'Quakes, Kreis aimed squarely at his team, specifically naming Olave, as "sleepwalking" through the match.

On Saturday, however, the Columbian international was at his best. In addition to a strong return to focus defensively, Olave was also very active in moving up and down the field, and even got himself involved in RSL's forward pressure in the attacking third a handful of times.

"We had a good game. We all knew we had to win, (and) we played well," Olave said. "First half was all about possession, the second half went smoother because we already had the initiative, but again, overall, we played well."

It was Real's third consecutive shutout at home as the team continues to rebuild its home pitch dominance, which stuttered earlier in late June with three consecutive homefield setbacks.

And equally important it helped quickly rebuild Salt Lake's confidence as it prepares to enter both the stretch run of the Major League Soccer season and the opening of CONCACAF group stage play.

"I don't think we're in a slump, we've just been inconsistent," midfielder Ned Grabavoy said. "I looked at the team before the game, and it was maybe the most relaxed I've seen them in a long time. No one's used to seeing ... bad results like the one last week, but I think the guys here are confident."

Kreis did caution after the match that it's not the time to get too high after one win.

"I think that it's a step in the right direction, but honestly we had a very good result two weeks ago didn't we?," Kreis said referring to a 3-0 win over Portland on July 7. "And we came out and got our butts handed to us so I think it's going to be very important for the guys to remember that we need to stay humble and remember what it takes to get results."

You can follow Justin Johnson on Twitter at: @jjohnson801 or email him at justinjohnson801@gmail.com

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