Soccer: Real Salt Lake's focus on set pieces pays off
Luis Gil leaped into the air and then into the arms of his teammates.
The celebration of his game-winning goal Saturday night over the Seattle Sounders was the payoff for time spent doing one of his coach's least favorite things.
"I would qualify it as a weakness in the coaching staff, in the head coach in particular that he hates to work on dead balls, attacking dead balls," RSL coach Jason Kreis said, "but we did. On Thursday we spent 30 to 45 minutes working on them."
RSL might be spending more time this week as it prepares for a trip to rival Colorado after the success it saw Saturday.
Both of RSL's goals against the Sounders came out of dead-ball situations.
In the eighth minute, a long throw-in bounced over the heads of two players, and when the Sounders' clearance deflected off one of their own, RSL's Robbie Findley tapped in the game's first goal with his left foot.
Later in the first half, RSL used a short corner design suggested by midfielder Javier Morales to get its second goal of the match.
As Sebastian Velasquez prepared to put the ball back in play, Ned Grabavoy ran from in front of the goal toward Velasquez in the corner. A rolling pass found Grabavoy on the touchline. That's when Gil made a short run from the right angle. Grabavoy floated a pass into the box and Gil's diving header beat Seattle goalkeeper Michael Gspurning.
"Yeah, you know, we've been trying some new things," Gil said after scoring his first goal of the season. "I feel like that's another thing for us, another option for us. We tried it a couple times and we executed on that one."
While Kreis didn't enjoy the practice, he liked what he saw during the game.
"I think that apart from even the goal, we were dangerous on a couple others in the first half as well," Kreis said after the win over Seattle. "So it will be something that we look to build on. ... Unfortunately for me."
RSL at Colorado
P Saturday, 5:30 p.m.
TV • NBCSN