Fans need very little evidence of how tight the two legged Western Conference play-off series between Real Salt Lake and Sounders FC is after Friday’s goalless game in Seattle.
Both coaches are looking for a means to eke out any inch that will give their side an advantage in any clutch moment.
This morning at RSL training, Head Coach Jason Kreis highlighted that point when he admitted that not only has his side been, as normal, practising penalties; but studying the opposition.
“Yeah we have. We always do at this time of year.
We spend a day or two days getting guys just prepped so they can see what it looks like and feels like to be twelve yards from the goal with a free shot.”
Normally this study covers the opposition strikers but Kreis confessed to going one step further. He told reporters that he had rewatched the video of Sounders goalkeeper Mike Gspurning’s behaviour in the US Open Cup Final penalty shoot out.
“We have looked over that video of course, yeah.”
Kreis sounded confident and prepared while remaining coy with reporters on his remaining fitness concerns, Jamison Olave and Fabian Espindola. Both seemed to come through training in one piece.
Despite what his General Manager Garth Lagerwey thought, Kreis does not seem so certain one goal will decide it though and thinks there are reasons why either side may be able to concede the first goal and still win:
“These two teams are experienced enough and have played in so many big games that I don’t think the first goal holds as much weight as it does in a typical MLS season. When you play new teams with young teams, or guys that haven’t been together very long or haven’t been with a coach long enough or haven’t played in big enough games then that goal is critically critically important.
In this series with these two teams I think you’d better be ready to play all 90 or 120.”