Well, I suppose an introduction is in order. I’m new to the “Keepin’ it Real” crew so let me first start off by introducing myself. My name is Colton and I’m a die-hard Real Salt Lake Fan. I love the sport of soccer and play as often as my schedule will allow and I try to follow everything here at home as well as across the pond. I also love photography (even though I’m an amateur). Mix those 2 passions together with work, school, and a small family and you’ve got me.
I am very excited to be a part of Keepin’ it Real and I’ll do my best to make it the go-to place for everything RSL. As I begin taking more photos at the games and practices I’ve decided to do an occasional “Through My Lens” feature where I’ll try to tell you the story of what’s going on in the RSL world with a slightly different twist. So, without further ado, here we go:
Thursday night had all the ingredients to be something special. It was the playoffs and there’s just something about this time of year that makes it so special. I arrived at the stadium 2 hrs. before kickoff and wandered around the empty field. The lights were still off, the music and usual pregame chatter was non-existent, and the sprinklers would come off and on prepping the pitch for the big game. I couldn’t help but snap a photo to catch the serenity of the moment.
However, it wasn’t long before the fans started filtering in and the warm-ups would subsequently ensue. CJ Brown jogged out onto the field amidst the sprinklers and begins to count off the steps, methodically placing the practice cones down like it’s just another day on the job. The Sounders were first out onto the field and about 5 minutes later our boys made their way out to begin warm-ups. I don’t know what it is but I love this portion about the game. Maybe it’s the excitement and anticipation building up inside of me. The 2 teams look like soldiers prepping themselves mentally and physically to go into war.
After a quick visit back to the locker room, the teams paraded out onto the field and the ceremonies began. Tyler Glenn from Neon Trees performed a great version of the National Anthem and we were soon underway…
The first half I stayed down at the South End with SCU and La Barra Real. In case you didn’t know, it is a RioT down there (pun intended). There was a Seattle photographer that walked by that seemed to be disabled and that really set off a slew of words from the south end crew that I would definitely not want my son to hear. The event staff got involved and took care of the situation but I loved the passion those guys have for our team. One of them mistook me for a Seattle supporter because I was wearing my green photographers vest and kept giving me a piece of his mind (he was completely wasted by the way). Anyway, the first half saw a few long balls overplayed and not too many good chances other than an occasional corner and one great opportunity from Grabavoy’s left-footed strike. Things started to get a bit chippy but we broke for half still scoreless.
After half I felt that the next goal would be the game winner and we had 45 minutes to get it. There were many more chances created in the 2nd by RSL and time after time we came up empty handed….. And then it happened. Clear across the field from me. The crowd went silent and I could hear the Seattle Supports from above cheer. My stomach sank and I turned to the video scoreboard to confirm my fears. We went down a goal and had only about 10 minutes to try and claw our way back into advancement. During those last 10 minutes, I saw wave after wave come about and still: “so close but no cigar”. There was one play that will stick with me that epitomized the feeling that evening. It was a ball from the midfield somewhere that was played down the east sideline in space trying to allow Tony Beltran to run onto it and hopefully get a cross in. As the ball was played you saw Tony exert every effort to sprint and catch it before it ran out of bounds. He sprinted all the way to the end line and even got a touch on the ball but it wasn’t enough as the ball slowly trickled out of bounds. Dejected, Tony fell to the ground and pounded it with his fist a couple times yelling to express his frustration. That right there summed up the performance that night for me.
I didn’t go into the locker room that night. I was too frustrated and couldn’t imagine seeing our players in there knowing it was time to pack it up for the season. However, in retrospect, I have to give my thanks to the effort of our team in what turned out to still be an amazing year. And so the chant goes “I’m Salt Lake till I die, I’m Salt Lake till I die, I know I am, I’m sure I am, I’m Salt Lake till I die”
Here’s the link to the game night photos: https://plus.google.com/photos/108480722555173335562/albums/5809778041695702737
(if the above link is not working, try right-clicking “open in new tab”)