Filled with confidence, Tate Schmitt and Real Salt Lake shine again

RSL remains unbeaten after a 2-1 victory over Nashville

(Amanda Loman | AP) Real Salt Lake coach Pablo Mastroeni walks across the field following the team's loss to the Portland Timbers in the MLS soccer Western Conference final Saturday, Dec. 4 in Portland, Ore. Mastroeni's interim tag has been removed after he and the club agreed to terms on a deal to make him RSL's full-time manager.

For the second week in a row, Tate Schmitt played the role of hero.

The Real Salt Lake defender’s second goal in as many weeks gave RSL a 2-1 victory over Nashville on Saturday night, keeping the team unbeaten (3-0-1) early in the new campaign.

“Yeah, I’m happy with the three points,” Schmitt said. “Big results for us, especially at home. Honestly, there’s still a lot of things we need to work on — myself, as well as the team. We just gotta enjoy the win tonight but get ready to work this upcoming week.”

Schmitt scored in the 54th minute on an assist from Maikel Chang.

“I’m pumped, it’s a long time coming,” Schmitt said. “It’s always said that, ‘there’s no elevator to success, you have to take the stairs,’ so it’s just step by step. Getting to where you need to be, it’s all about timing. I’ve been patient, working hard, and finding my opportunities so I’m happy.”

Striker Bobby Wood scored RSL’s first goal of the night. And goalkeeper Zac MacMath had eight saves. Walker Zimmerman’s goal was the only shot on target to get past the RSL goalie.

“... Some of those saves, I’m not really thinking,” said MacMath, who again started in place of the injured David Ochoa. “It’s just, I’m there, and I’m making the save. Now I can kind of attribute that to my confidence. Being in the right place at the right time, and just making quick decisions where I don’t actually have to think. I attribute that to my confidence just because my confidence has risen the last four games.”

A confident RSL will next travel to Sporting Kansas City for a Saturday match.

“I would say it’s not so much my personal confidence, but the freedom and confidence of my teammates around me who trust me and my abilities,” Schmitt said. “Just that alone and knowing I have players around me who have my back defensively and also expect me to finish those chances. It starts with the habits we instill in training. Since preseason, Pablo [Mastroeni]’s set a good standard for us: just go out and grind every day. I think the guys have followed that and that’s given me the confidence to play.”