Real Salt Lake boss Jason Kreis has always believed in the mantra of fortune favoring the bold.
He proved why on Saturday night.
With Real having given up a tying goal late in the match, Kreis wasn't about to let his team hunker down and settle for a draw.
RSL's sixth-year manager made two late substitutions, including pulling outside defender Tony Beltran for midfielder Luis Gil, leaving Real with just three defenders to hold off any late charge by Toronto.
"When you get to the dying moments of the match and you think about how things played out, I still would have felt the performance pretty darn good," Kreis said. "We had a ton of scoring chances. On a different night I think we win that game handily. I think on the other side of that, we could have lost that game, because we took a ton of risks at the end. Fortune favored the bold, I guess. When we're at home, we go for three points, and nothing less is acceptable."
In the end, the gamble looked like a masterstroke of genius as Jonny Steele latched on the end of a Kyle Beckerman touch at the edge of the box and smashed home a strike in the third minute of stoppage time that lifted the home side to a 3-2 result over visiting, and winless, Toronto.
The goal removed to potential stigma of making RSL the first team to give up points to the Reds, and, most importantly ended the Lions three-match winless streak (0-2-1), giving the Utah side its sixth full value result of the season.
It could also give Real the shot in the arm it needs to get back to its early season success, especially heading into another key three-match, eight-day stretch that starts Saturday with the team hosting New England.
Featured prominently during that marathon run, the third of five such gauntlets the Lions face this year, are road meetings with Chicago and Seattle, making the momentum all the more critical.
One thing that Kreis was pretty pleased with was the energy and enthusiasm his squad had from the opening whistle.
After a few lackluster starts during its last few matches, Real Salt Lake came charging out the gate and opening its scoring account after just seven minutes.
"I thought it was a pretty bright beginning," Kreis said. "We stressed over the past couple of days, and we have stressed for the past couple of weeks that we want better starts, so I was pleased that we scored in the first 15 minutes."
Real's boss was also pleased with the range of versatility that his team is beginning to show as it becomes accustomed to having its first choice line-up on the field together again.
"(I am) pleased with some of the versatility we're beginning to show on some of our attacks, getting the right numbers forward, getting some players involved and into the box."
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