Last Saturday afternoon's last minute Real Salt Lake victory over Major League Soccer's defending champion, Columbus Crew, was not only a great way to start the play-offs for RSL. It was a vindication of coach Jason Kreis' vision after a decidedly difficult season.---
Here was a team that displayed fluidity in midfield, particularly with some deft passing between captain Kyle Beckerman and midfielder Javier Morales. Here was a team that displayed heart and conviction, whether it was Will Johnson fighting hard for every ball or defender Tony Beltran persistently pushing his way up to Columbus' box. Here was a team that showed a cohesion, a collective will that's been rarely on display of late, delivering the sharp-edged, scrappy yet also elegant soccer that Kreis has been talking about since he took charge.
Against a Columbus Crew that seemed, most of the 90 minutes, to be an even match for Real, Robbie Findley's 87th minute goal sent the over two-thirds full stadium into ecastacy. And it wasn't just hardwork by the team. There was the gift of the supporters' passion to be taken into account too.
Section 26 had the the east, north and west stadiums chanting R-S-L and La Barra in the north kept up a percussive beat and singing that never let up.
Real last Saturday showed they can live up to Kreis' expectations. Judging by the team's newly discovered appetite for victory, the jinx of rarely winning on the road aside, there's no reason Real shouldn't make the finals and bring the MLS cup home.
No reason at all.