Kyle Beckerman nearly gave his team the lead in the 31st minute of Salt Lake’s draw with Colorado with a shot from 20 yards out.
But he didn’t create the play on his own.
It started when Beckerman played over the top found Robbie Findley. The defense was able to catch up as Findley didn’t take a good touch, but the stretched defense wasn’t able to account for the Real Salt Lake captain who made a trailing run and took a shot from outside the box. He missed just wide left of the goal.
The stat sheet doesn’t say it, and most of the fans watching don’t remember it, but Robbie Findley’s speed stretched out the defense and created that open shot for Beckerman.
It happens many times a match and explains why Real Salt Lake’s coaches and players often speak very differently about Findley’s contributions than some fans do.
“Throughout the game, he’s one pass away from being on goal,” Beckerman said. “[Because of Findley] They’ve got to drop deeper, and when they do, the game starts to spread out. [That means] we can pass a little bit better. We’re able to pressure higher. We can turn defenses around.”
The young Ecuadorian Joao Plata joined Salt Lake this offseason and he brings a lot of upside to the squad. His persistence, speed, and ability to take a player on have electrified the fans and left some calling for the young player to see more time at Findley’s expense.
While “zero goals in three matches” isn’t the ideal statistic for any starting forward, Findley is doing a lot to create chances and earn his time on the pitch.
The US World Cup veteran does need to score more goals, or at least create a few, or he may start spending more time on the bench. That said, even when he doesn’t appear on the score sheet, Robbie Findley makes a big difference for the Real Salt Lake attack.
In the 60th minute of the same match, Findley took a ball drove up the left side and fired hard across goal. Clint Irwin made a leaping touch to deflect the ball out of bounds just to be safe. It doesn’t appear on the score sheet, but it created a dangerous corner on which Salt Lake could have scored.
They didn’t, and that’s why many fans don’t remember it. But Robbie Findley made it happen.