My next match in charge brought us up to Vancouver to take on the Whitecaps. After our win against Colorado, we we're in stride, looking confident at training all week leading up to the match.
We entered the tunnel as a team, and I gathered the lads around, "Alright lads, we played well offensively last time out. This time, lets work on protecting Nick. He's been stalwart back there for us, and has taken a lot of abuse these last few games. Clean sheet for Nick, lads. Help him out."
I sent them out onto the pitch.
It went pretty well. Nat picked up and early card for a rough challenge, and set the tone for us defensively. We didn't give up an inch without a fight, and it was a decent match despite both teams being held scoreless. We'll have 'em at Rio Tino, easy.
The next match was against Chivas USA, in Rio Tino. We'd already put up good numbers in our home matches and I wasn't about to let Chivas be our first home defeat, I told the lads all week to keep up the clean sheet run. We didn't want to let any goals in, this was our fortress.
Again, we played well and kept a clean sheet. We had a few quality opportunities, we just couldn't capitalize and Chivas didn't play poorly either. A draw was a fair result.
We'd get to stay home for our next game against LA Galaxy and the "illustrious" Landon Donovan. We started poorly, allowing LA to dominate the first half. In the 31st minute we allowed LA to complete a lovely team move with a cross from the left wing into Rob Friend who put a lovely glancing header on it barley under the crossbar and over Nick Rimando. I was left stunned. We came into the locker room, and I was irate. "Come on, lads! We're better than this. We cannot allow LA to come here and beat us. Rio Tinto is not a stadium. It is our fortress. We stand here, and we fight here. We win here!"
"Now get out there and show some passion!"
The second half was a complete turnaround. We came gun blazing. Pressuring high up the field, working the ball, everyone giving a fully committed effort. We equalized in the 56th minute, Robbie Findley showing true poaching instincts to pounce on a rebound from a poor tackle and tuck it into the bottom corner of the net. "YES, lad! This!" I said whilst turning to the bench, "Is just the beginning of a great comeback!"
Findley made my words true, 12 minutes of tense play later, with both teams pressing for the winning goal it was only a matter of time before one of us found it. It was Corradi who played a lovely cross in from the right side, and Findley who was there to power it home with a wonderful header. I ran down the sidelines to join the lads celebrating at the corner flag, at the risk of a warning, "Time to hold it together, lads! Keep it up!"
Next, we hosted Vancouver, for our third home game in a row. And again, we went down early to a early Kenny Miller goal. However, this time, Bernardo Corradi, following up his game winning assist, equalized before the half. I told the lads to keep that momentum going, really give the fans here something to cheer for. This was our Fortress and all. Corradi could not be stopped, popping in to more wonderful goals in the 2nd half and harken back to his younger days. He did not look 37 years old out there with that smile on his face.
Finally we had an away game to ease our nerves. We'd played well at home, but it was nice to take a road trip. Findley scored early, and both teams were sent in search of a 2nd goal. Despite carving the defense open a number of times, the match was abnormal for the number of off target shots and wasted opportunities. However, we'd gotten the 3 points, and we hadn't had to come from behind to do it. This would bring us to 3 wins in a row and a 6 match unbeaten run! I was confident we'd do better this season than anyone expected.
Next we'd continue our road trip up to Montreal, Corradi old club. We took the lead early in the 2nd half when he tried to recreate his match winner with Findley only for Collen Warner, the Montreal defender to come flying in and attempt to volley it clear only to rifle home what I thought was one of Findley's best efforts of the season until the stats came in at the end of the game. Another 3 points in the bag. 4 wins on the trot, and a 7 match unbeaten run.
The last game of this road trip would be against Chivas, who'd done well against us last time to force us to a 0-0 in Rio Tinto. We'd do well this time, we were more than confident, we were flying. We'd been on a great run, and it was time to continue it.
We started off lively. Drawing a pk for Artem to tuck home in the 7th minute. Torres equalized for Chivas 6 minutes later in the 13th. However, we were pressing them, and it was only a matter of time before we took the lead again. I didn't expect it to be another own goal, but it was. Austin Berry provided us the lead in the 35th. We finished off the match in the 82nd with Robbie Findley continuing his great season and run of form. He's scoring at will it seems like, as is the team as a whole. I'm proud to be here in Salt Lake. It's a great squad, and more importantly, they trust one another.
We've been on a great run, 5 wins in a row. 8 unbeaten. With a home match coming up. I was rubbing my hands in glee.
(Next update will be 100% about my friends records up to this points. I may not do much detail, because well, I wasn't there for their games, but I can see how they've played.)