SANDY — Unspoken communication between forward Robbie Findley and goalkeeper Nick Rimando led to not only a record-breaking moment in franchise history, but what proved to be the game-winning goal in Real Salt Lake's 1-0 win over Seattle Sounders FC.
"Just some eye contact," said Findley. "I was probably between the 18 (yard line) and the half circle. I was able to get some eye contact and just took off."
In the 62nd minute, Seattle headed a ball over the Real crossbar for a goalkick. Rimando alertly and quickly put the ball back in play, sending it deep over the top of the defense. Findley timed his run perfectly to get behind the last defender Peter Vagenas. Fighting off the attempts by Vagenas to slow or even bring him down, Findley took a couple of touches and fired a ball past keeper Kasey Keller and into the lower-left corner. It was his eighth goal of the season and goal No. 20 with RSL, which moved Findley past Jeff Cunningham for the most goals scored in franchise history. "It is definitely a good feeling," said Findley of taking over the career mark. "There have been a lot of good goal scorers here, so I am pretty happy."
It wasn't an ideal build-up or a goal that came from technical play, but it came from two great individual efforts. "Yeah, we work on that a lot, having Nick kick the ball 50 yards over the top. We spend a lot of time at training on that," joked coach Jason Kreis, who watched the game from a press box on the fourth floor of Rio Tinto Stadium, serving the second of his two-game suspension for a red card against Dallas. "Nick is extremely good with his feet at picking people off from a long ways away. It is one of the things that I am very fond of Rimando for."
While it may not be something the team practices, it was an opportunity that the goalkeeper keeps his eye on.
"We got a goal kick and I'm always looking to spring Robbie or Fabi through," said Rimando, who along with the assist had career shutout No. 56, good enough for sixth on the all-time MLS list. "This was one where I looked up and I saw the defenders back and Robbie looked at me and we just connected. I put the ball though the middle, and Robbie did the rest."
The goal was Findley's eighth on the season in only 17 games. He missed a 1-on-1 chance earlier in the game when he shot a ball right at Keller. Still, Kreis was pleased with his effort against the Sounders. "I thought that Robbie was extremely active all night," said Kreis. "He had those two chances to score, the first one being the far simpler one. As a coach I wish and I hope he will convert those simple ones, but converting the second one was good enough on the night."