Jordan Graye and United's defense put in another solid performance
This isn't terrible. Uneventful is something we haven't seen that much this season. No supersub immediately scoring two goals. No second half collapse.
Just a plain old 0-0 draw against the defending champions who had won five straight matches.
This is still something to build off of. United earning their first clean sheet of the year against the league's leading scorers is a major accomplishment.
And Coach Curt Onalfo has to get some credit for this, right? There were plenty of folks questioning the decision to start Troy Perkins over Bill Hamid. And then most of us thought Julius James would be filling in for Carey Talley after the veteran suffered a concussion, but Onalfo instead turned to the newly recovered Dejan Jakovic, who was stepping on the field for the first time since April.
Both decisions paid off. And Onalfo's team was rewarded with a shutout and a point.
After giving up only a penalty kick goal in United's midweek win over RSL, Onalfo turned to Troy Perkins again to shut down the highest scoring offense in the league. In his first MLS start since the 2-0 loss to the Red Bulls on May 1st, Perkins looked confident and competent for the entire match.
Perkins didn't do it alone. The entire backline of Jordan Graye, Devon McTavish, Juan Manuel Pena, and Dejan Jakovic held Real Salt Lake without a shot on target in the first half. Add defensive midfielder Clyde Simms to the mix and you've earned yourselves a shutout.
He may have missed on some shots, but Stephen King sure has fought his way into the starting lineup. And giving up a second rounder for him last month is looking like a pretty good deal right now. King had two shots that didn't miss by much, and he was getting himself in good positions and making opportunistic runs all night. He'll score soon enough.
No United fan wants to hear this, but Andy Najar really didn't have a good match. He created some good chances early on, but also had several giveaways. I really don't want Andy getting in the habit of trying to take on three opponents at once very often. It's rarely going to lead to much.
Santino Quaranta also could have done better. With so many corner kick chances, you would expect that we'd score at least once.
Where was Danny Allsopp? I don't recall him having any shots on target, and he seemed to disappear for the entire second half. I expect more from our #1 forward.
Hey don't get me wrong. A win would have been great. It's probably what we deserved. But a point against the league champions is a quality result. A win and a draw in the same week against Real Salt Lake is better than most of us expected going in.
United has just one match left before the World Cup break. It's this Thursday night, it's on ESPN2, and it's against our west coast rivals the Seattle Sounders. A win to maintain our momentium would be pretty darn nice.