Archive | May, 2010

TFC hang on for win in San Jose

Posted on 31 May 2010 by chazard

TFC were able to hang onto a win in San Jose to register three points on the road for the first time this MLS season. Preki started the match with 2009 TFC MVP Dwayne De Rosario and Designated Player Julian de Guzman on the bench after they returned to The Reds following international duty with the Canadian Men’s National Team in Argentina earlier in the week.

The first half saw Chad Barrett notching his fifth of the season in the 31st minute when Stefan Frei placed a goal kick from the TFC end to the edge of the San Jose box. Jason Hernandez of San Jose made a poor attempt to head the ball back to Cannon his goalkeeper and Barrett was able to get the outside of his right foot onto the ball, resulting in first goal San Jose has surrendered at home since April 24. Barrett was also awarded a yellow card for his post goal celebration with the corner flag.

The play in the first half was not spectacular, but control of play was to the advantage of The Reds. San Jose Earthquakes did create opportunities in the 13, 23 and 35 minutes, but were unable to capitalize on these chances.

Both TFC and San Jose made changes at the half, with TFC bringing in De Rosario and de Guzman for O’Brian White and Martin Saric.

San Jose brought in Arturo Alvarez for Joey Gjertsen.

Early in the second half Stefan Frei confirmed why he is one of the best goal keepers in the league with a great save on Chris Wondolowski, resulting in a corner kick for San Jose. This proved to just the first of many missed opportunities for the Earthquake in the second half.

Dwayne De Rosario added to the TFC lead in the 66th minute by taking a long pass launched by Dan Gargan just inside the San Jose side of half and one touched it from the top of the box past Joe Cannon to make it 2-0 TFC. For De Rosario it was his 7th goal of the season which leads the eastern conference.

The two goal deficit seemed to create a sense of urgency for San Jose and for the remainder of the game they showed the pressure that they can put on opposing teams.

The lone San Jose goal came on a corner with Ramiro Corrales heading in a Bobby Convey cornerin the 76th minute. It appeared that Corrales and one other San Jose player were the only people on the pitch to go after the ball. This resulted in the Earthquake closing the gap with less than 15 minutes remaining in the match.

San Jose continued to put pressure on TFC for the remainder of the match and ended with 16 shots, 7 of those on goal, compared to TFC with 9 shots and 3 of those on goal.

In a half of play that saw no injuries, there was 3 minutes of stoppage time added and at 92 minutes Joe Cannon left his net to join in the San Jose attack on the Toronto goal.

This strategic decision was not successful and resulted in a clearing by Nick LaBrocca down the field to be captured by De Rosario to net his second of the game and finish the match at 3-1.

Next up for Toronto, a home match against the Vancouver Whitecaps on Wednesday June 2 at 8pm in the final match of the Nutrilite Canadian Championship, followed by a visit by the Kansas City Wizards for a 4pm start on Saturday June 5.

Scoring Summary
TOR – Chad Barrett (unassisted) 31
TOR – Dwayne De Rosario (Dan Gargan) 66
SJ — Ramiro Corrales (Bobby Convey) 76
TOR — Dwayne De Rosario (Nick LaBrocca) 94+

Lineups:

Toronto FC
Stefan Frei
Dan Gargan
Nana Attakora
Adrian Cann
Nick Garcia
Jacob Peterson
Nick LaBrocca
Amadou Sanyang
Martin Saric (Julian de Guzman 46)
Chad Barrett (Sam Cronin 82)
O’Brian White (Dwayne De Rosario 46).
Substitutes Not Used: Gabe Gala, Raivis Hscanovics, Maksim Usanov, Jon Conway.

San Jose Earthquakes
Joe Cannon
Chris Leitch (Scott Sealy 77)
Bobby Burling
Jason Hernandez
Ramiro Corrales
Brandon McDonald
Bobby Convey
Ryan Johnson
Chris Wondolowski
Joey Gjertsen (Arturo Alvarez 46)
Brad Ring (Cornell Glen 59)
Substitutes Not Used: Ramon Sanchez, Ike Opara, Steven Beitashour, Jon Busch

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Week 10 weekend roundup

Posted on 31 May 2010 by Patrick McShane

Action from the Real Salt Lake v Kansas City Wizards match ©Julie Harper/ASN

Real Salt Lake extended their win streak Saturday to a franchise-best five games after dispatching the Kansas City Wizards 4-1 in a hotly contested affair. While RSL jumped off to an early lead after a pair of goals by Fabian Espíndola and Álvaro Saborío, the Wizards were able to capitalize on RSL’s occasional sloppy play to pull a goal back just before half. Inspired by 15,588 raucous fans at Rio Tinto Stadium, RSL controlled the second half and finished the match off late thanks to a Davy Arnaud ejection and goals from Robbie Russell and Ned Grabavoy. ASN’s Patrick McShane reports from Rio Tinto Stadium and supplies player ratings for the victorious home side.

Conor Casey beat out Jeff Parke on a running battle into the box in the 63rd minute of the Seattle Sounders match-up with the Colorado Rapids and caught Kasey Keller off his line with a deft chip to the far post. The goal stood up as the winner in a 1-0 decision in the home team’s favor at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Pat Shea reports from Colorado and supplies player ratings for both sides.

Toronto FC booked their first road win in MLS play this season when Dwayne DeRosario broke a 2-2 deadlock with his second goal of the game deep into stoppage time at San Jose. Chris Hazard has that report.

In the nation’s capital, Steve Long finally sees reasons to believe in Curt Onalfo’s plans for DC United, after their 3-2 victory over Chivas USA.

The Philadelphia Union surprised an incredibly tough Houston home team last night coming from behind to win 3-2 in the dying moments. It was the #1 draft pick Danny Mwanga that grabbed the game winner all thanks to the unwavering work ethic of both Alejandro Moreno and Sebastien Le Toux. The win now puts the Union at 2-5-1. ASN Philly’s Breton Bonnette observed the match and supplied the following player ratings for the winners.

Finally, at Toyota Park in suburban Chicago, AC Milan strutted their stuff for a sell-out crowd before defeating the Chicago Fire by 1-0. Jeff Tobin has that report.

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DC stands United behind Onalfo's plan

Posted on 31 May 2010 by Steve Long

Even as DC United spiraled downward at the beginning of 2010, there appeared to be a simultaneous improvement in the team’s discipline and overall shape. That seeming contradiction could be explained by a superabundance of injuries to the top tier of players. The team simply lacked the critical talent mass to execute the tasks assigned.

Still, there seemed to be something more at work. I spoke with an experienced coach about it and received an interesting explanation. He described two key elements, the quality of the coach’s plan and the degree of player understanding and consequent buyin.

He would explain to his players that his plan could be good or bad and their buy into it could likewise be either. If his scheme was poor and they bought it or his scheme was good and they didn’t, the result would be mediocre at best.

The 2009 DC United players would invariably answer when interviewed that they bought Tom Soehn’s plan, but they often strayed from it during games, indicating by their actions that they didn’t fully buy it. Mediocrity ensued. Piled on top of a demanding overall schedule, the team fell below even that standard.

Enter Curt Onalfo, a legacy of the legendary DC United. Add an assistant from that same era, Ben Olsen, and you have two disciples of the Bruce Arena school of discipline. One would expect their plan to be a good one and their training to emulate the organization and focus which are Arena characteristics.

United’s first coach had a similar rocky beginning to his tenure, but righted the ship and piloted it to glory. Let’s take that analogy one step further. Arena took a while to integrate a major element of his style into the team, the effective creative midfielder. Onalfo came into 2010 with that same element lacking.

For whatever reason, over the offseason DC United did not acquire the midfield engine that they so clearly needed. Onalfo tested Santino Quaranta there, but found that the young veteran’s natural talents lend themselves to wide midfield or flexible striker play. He has had to resort to a less effective plan until the front office gets him the DP creator that will optimize the roster.

The reason that United can now approach a decent mediocrity (albeit with flashes of brilliance) lies in the players’ buying into the current plan. That plan is well described by a series of quotes from Tino Quaranta:

“We clearly went over this week what we wanted from each individual…We wanted to build off the AC Milan performance in terms of the way we defended, collectively from the forwards to the midfielders to the backs. We had a plan and we followed it to a tee.” That is classic Arena ball: press, control, and go fast when the opportunity arises.

It takes a while to become comfortable and confident. One must be patient, “At halftime I told the guys that if it takes us until the 90th minute to win this game tonight then that’s what it does, but we have to stay patient.”

The patient player has confidence that he and his teammates will fulfill each others’ expectations and that good things will come from overall focus, “It was a disciplined performance. In the past we would put our head down when the 78th-79th minute goal would go in. Tonight we lifted the guys. We kept pushing, we went forward. It was the type of performance we expect from these guys.”

Confidence is infectious, “Once they scored that second goal, I just looked around at the guys and I felt that we were gonna win this game.”

A large part of that confidence comes from the knowledge that the whole team is on the same page. Carey Talley, another Arena legacy, said it well, “We established a rhythm…It came from 1 through 15, however many played tonight….For us we’re starting to see the hard work, the discipline, pay off.

“There has to be a system established, like you say in Houston, where guys step in and do their role. We’re still obviously working on that and every guy is stepping in and trying to do what’s asked of him and you can’t complain about that.”

The defender, who wears the captain’s armband when Jaime Moreno is out, has made his own contribution to team development with his advice to the young Jordan Graye who continues to develop into a solid right defender.

In turn, Graye has begun to pass on his knowledge to 17 year old Andy Najar , who played in front of him, “He’s aware of where I am and I’m aware of where he is. He’s really good defensively.” Success comes about because, “The communication is key. Pena and Talley keep me in check and keep me focused on doing the right things during the game and I kinda put that on Andy too.”

Just as Olsen absorbed the lessons from John Harkes and Marco Etcheverry, the latest number 14, Najar, is growing rapidly, “He takes it seriously. Like Curt says, he’s wise beyond his years when it comes to professionalism in soccer, and that’s why he’s playing for the first team.”

The Open Cup match and regular season games that fill out the rest of this week will sorely test the team’s new found confidence. To Onalfo’s credit, he has slowly built a certain amount of depth into the squad which may see them past Real Salt Lake.

Two of MLS’ most successful coaches over time, Dom Kinnear of Houston and Steve Nicol of New England, built teams with solid systems which gave each player a clear role and obtained their buyin. Onalfo may well be on the right track, requiring only a creative midfielder to make it all work.

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DC stands United behind Onalfo’s plan

Posted on 31 May 2010 by Steve Long

Even as DC United spiraled downward at the beginning of 2010, there appeared to be a simultaneous improvement in the team’s discipline and overall shape. That seeming contradiction could be explained by a superabundance of injuries to the top tier of players. The team simply lacked the critical talent mass to execute the tasks assigned.

Still, there seemed to be something more at work. I spoke with an experienced coach about it and received an interesting explanation. He described two key elements, the quality of the coach’s plan and the degree of player understanding and consequent buyin.

He would explain to his players that his plan could be good or bad and their buy into it could likewise be either. If his scheme was poor and they bought it or his scheme was good and they didn’t, the result would be mediocre at best.

The 2009 DC United players would invariably answer when interviewed that they bought Tom Soehn’s plan, but they often strayed from it during games, indicating by their actions that they didn’t fully buy it. Mediocrity ensued. Piled on top of a demanding overall schedule, the team fell below even that standard.

Enter Curt Onalfo, a legacy of the legendary DC United. Add an assistant from that same era, Ben Olsen, and you have two disciples of the Bruce Arena school of discipline. One would expect their plan to be a good one and their training to emulate the organization and focus which are Arena characteristics.

United’s first coach had a similar rocky beginning to his tenure, but righted the ship and piloted it to glory. Let’s take that analogy one step further. Arena took a while to integrate a major element of his style into the team, the effective creative midfielder. Onalfo came into 2010 with that same element lacking.

For whatever reason, over the offseason DC United did not acquire the midfield engine that they so clearly needed. Onalfo tested Santino Quaranta there, but found that the young veteran’s natural talents lend themselves to wide midfield or flexible striker play. He has had to resort to a less effective plan until the front office gets him the DP creator that will optimize the roster.

The reason that United can now approach a decent mediocrity (albeit with flashes of brilliance) lies in the players’ buying into the current plan. That plan is well described by a series of quotes from Tino Quaranta:

“We clearly went over this week what we wanted from each individual…We wanted to build off the AC Milan performance in terms of the way we defended, collectively from the forwards to the midfielders to the backs. We had a plan and we followed it to a tee.” That is classic Arena ball: press, control, and go fast when the opportunity arises.

It takes a while to become comfortable and confident. One must be patient, “At halftime I told the guys that if it takes us until the 90th minute to win this game tonight then that’s what it does, but we have to stay patient.”

The patient player has confidence that he and his teammates will fulfill each others’ expectations and that good things will come from overall focus, “It was a disciplined performance. In the past we would put our head down when the 78th-79th minute goal would go in. Tonight we lifted the guys. We kept pushing, we went forward. It was the type of performance we expect from these guys.”

Confidence is infectious, “Once they scored that second goal, I just looked around at the guys and I felt that we were gonna win this game.”

A large part of that confidence comes from the knowledge that the whole team is on the same page. Carey Talley, another Arena legacy, said it well, “We established a rhythm…It came from 1 through 15, however many played tonight….For us we’re starting to see the hard work, the discipline, pay off.

“There has to be a system established, like you say in Houston, where guys step in and do their role. We’re still obviously working on that and every guy is stepping in and trying to do what’s asked of him and you can’t complain about that.”

The defender, who wears the captain’s armband when Jaime Moreno is out, has made his own contribution to team development with his advice to the young Jordan Graye who continues to develop into a solid right defender.

In turn, Graye has begun to pass on his knowledge to 17 year old Andy Najar , who played in front of him, “He’s aware of where I am and I’m aware of where he is. He’s really good defensively.” Success comes about because, “The communication is key. Pena and Talley keep me in check and keep me focused on doing the right things during the game and I kinda put that on Andy too.”

Just as Olsen absorbed the lessons from John Harkes and Marco Etcheverry, the latest number 14, Najar, is growing rapidly, “He takes it seriously. Like Curt says, he’s wise beyond his years when it comes to professionalism in soccer, and that’s why he’s playing for the first team.”

The Open Cup match and regular season games that fill out the rest of this week will sorely test the team’s new found confidence. To Onalfo’s credit, he has slowly built a certain amount of depth into the squad which may see them past Real Salt Lake.

Two of MLS’ most successful coaches over time, Dom Kinnear of Houston and Steve Nicol of New England, built teams with solid systems which gave each player a clear role and obtained their buyin. Onalfo may well be on the right track, requiring only a creative midfielder to make it all work.

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A tale of two halves in USMNT send off

Posted on 31 May 2010 by ASN Staff

Jozy Altidore in action v Turkey ©Terry McLaughlin/ASN

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair. On the eve of departing for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, the U.S. Men’s National Team had everything before it, had nothing before it, it was going all the way to the World Cup final, or toward first round elimination – in short, some of the noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

With apologies to Charles Dickens, from whom the previous paragraph was lifted and (in small pieces) adapted for the current situation facing the U.S. World Cup squad, we present coverage of its last warm-up match on U.S. soil. ASN Philly’s Breton Bonnette reports from Lincoln Financial Field. Terry McLaughlin supplies the photos.

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A tale of two halves in USMNT send-off

Posted on 31 May 2010 by ASN Staff

Jozy Altidore in action v Turkey ©Terry McLaughlin/ASN

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair. On the eve of departing for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, the U.S. Men’s National Team had everything before it, had nothing before it, it was going all the way to the World Cup final, or toward first round elimination – in short, some of the noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

With apologies to Charles Dickens, from whom the previous paragraph was lifted and (in small pieces) adapted for the current situation facing the U.S. World Cup squad, we present coverage of its last warm-up match on U.S. soil. ASN Philly’s Breton Bonnette reports from Lincoln Financial Field. Terry McLaughlin supplies the photos.

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Weekend recap: Red Stars upset Gold Pride and a stalemate in the Garden State

Posted on 31 May 2010 by mwkajdas

Heather O'Reilly

In what could be considered the biggest upset win of this WPS season to date, the Chicago Red Stars, at the end of a tumultuous week of changing coaches, defeated league-leading FC Gold Pride and ended their five-game winning streak with an early second-half goal from Kosovare Asllani. Michael Kajdas reports from Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill., on that match.

The Boston Breakers came to Yurcak Field in New Jersey on Saturday night looking to stop two streaks, an all time winless record against defending WPS Champions Sky Blue FC and the five game winless streak they’ve carried since the second week of the season. After 90 minutes, the Breakers would leave with both still intact, playing to a 0-0 draw with Sky Blue in a game that saw Heather O’Reilly start at forward rather than her usual spot in midfield. The switch agreed with the U.S. international. “I have a lot of fun playing striker,” she said after the match. Lauren Barker reports from Piscataway, N.J.

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RSL 4, Kansas City 1 – Player Ratings

Posted on 31 May 2010 by Patrick McShane

Real Salt Lake player ratings on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being best:

Rimando: 6 – He was left out to dry by Borchers on the Wizards only goal and produced another solid outing. He calmly collected some rockets at goal throughout the match and has yet to be truly tested all season.

Wingert: 5 – Hard to assess Wingert’s output as he left at half with an injury and didn’t really have much involvement in the first half.

Borchers: 3.5 – It was a pretty difficult night for Nat as he was caught out of position on countless occasions and was responsible for the Wizards only goal thanks to some lackadaisical possession in the back. He just didn’t seem to have his head in the match and was surprisingly shaky.

Olave: 6.5 – Olave delivered crunching tackle after crunching tackle all match long and did a nice job with Alexandre to stifle the Wizards attack before they could really get into dangerous positions.

Beltran: 7.5 – One of the best matches I’ve seen from Beltran in an RSL uniform. He was everywhere defensively and caused problems on both wings all night. Even more surprising was some of the nifty skill he showed on offense while contributing to distribution in the middle of the pitch.

Morales: 8 – Stellar performance from Javi who seems to have shrugged off his poor play from a season ago and has been excellent this year. His ability to create offensive chances for Espy & Sabo has directly led to the offense output from RSL’s forwards over the past couple of weeks.

Alexandre: 6.5 – Jean will never be a technically skilled player with the same style or flair as Beckerman. However, he showed me on Saturday that he could be a physical presence in the midfield while making smart, simple passes. It was a nice all-around performance for the young midfielder.

Williams: 6 – You have to give Williams credit for not taking the shot for the opening goal and instead opting to provide the perfect opportunity for Espy. RSL fans have to hope his injury won’t keep him out of play long.

Johnson: 6.5 – Another great performance for a player who often lacks tangible production. Will was solid all match long at supporting Alexandre while linking up with Morales and Espy on the left. Let’s see where this positive performance takes Will over the next couple of weeks with a number of RSL’s midfielders being injured.

Saborío: 7.5 – What more can be said about Sabo? His quality is easily recognizable and stellar. He probably could have had a hat-trick if not for a scuffed shot and a header that glanced off the woodwork in the second half. His skill and guile on the ball is a perfect balance for Espy’s speed and power.

Espíndola: 8.5 – It was Espy’s first start in over a month and he repaid the RSL faithful with an all-around brilliant display. His energy tormented the Wizards backline all evening and flustered even the usually stoic Jimmy Conrad. With Robbie Findley away with the USMNT over the next couple of months, Espy will continue to lead the attack with Sabo as they build one of the most formidable striking partnerships in the league.

SUBSTITUTES:
Russell: 7 – It was a nice match for Russell both offensively and defensively. He was available on countless occasions to provide coverage in the back when RSL was caught pushing up too far and deservedly earned his first tally late in the match.

Grabavoy: 6.5 – I questioned Alexandre getting the start in holding mid over Grabavoy as Ned definitely has an edge in leadership. Unfortunately Ned saw the pitch much sooner than most expected thanks to the injury to Williams. He put in a productive second half performance with his goal late being particularly beautiful in large part due to his amazing speed to get by Besler coupled with his cool finish past Nielsen.

Campos: N/A – Not much to assess in limited minutes.

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Streaking RSL dismantle the Wizards for fifth straight win

Posted on 31 May 2010 by Patrick McShane

Real Salt Lake extended their win streak Saturday to a franchise-best five games after dispatching the Kansas City Wizards 4-1 in a hotly contested affair. While RSL jumped off to an early lead after a pair of goals by Fabian Espíndola and Álvaro Saborío, the Wizards were able to capitalize on RSL’s occasional sloppy play to pull a goal back just before half. Inspired by 15,588 raucous fans at Rio Tinto Stadium, RSL controlled the second half and finished the match off late thanks to a Davy Arnaud ejection and goals from Robbie Russell and Ned Grabavoy.

Skip to the RSL player ratings!

Action from the match ©Julie Harper/ASN

The match had a bright and confident feel for the home side early as RSL dominated much of the play. Espíndola and Saborío continued to nurture their growing partnership up top for RSL while combining with midfield maestro Javier Morales for a number of attacking runs in the first 20 minutes.

“I think that they have a good relationship,” noted coach Jason Kreis after the match. “I think they both look for each other and run off each other very well, and when you include Javier [Morales] in that triangle you see some really nice combination from those three players.”

While the Wizards defense did a decent job managing the pressure early on, RSL finally earned a breakthrough in the 31st minute when midfielder Andy Williams found himself open with yards of space in front of goal. Rather than taking the shot on goal, Williams drew three defenders to him before laying off to a wide-open Espíndola for a low, driven shot across keeper Jimmy Nielsen for the opening goal.

Espíndola was in fine form all evening, torching the Wizards backline while earning a number of chances for the home side. This effort was again repaid just minutes after the opening tally when Espíndola was sprung open on the left wing by Morales for an uncontested run at goal. Rather than launch a cross with his preferred left foot, Espíndola cut the ball into the middle a tried to chip Nielsen with his right foot. Though Nielsen was able to tip the ball, he wasn’t able to get complete control and spilled the ball behind him for Saborío to body home for his team-leading fifth goal.

While it seemed the match was trending towards a blowout, the Wizards produced a moment of magic just before half when Arnaud surprised a needlessly casual Nat Borchers right in front of goal for an interception. His speed and momentum paid off, as he was able to quickly place a nice pass across goal for Josh Wolff to slot home. Though the Wizards deserved the goal thanks to their energy and fight, one had to feel they didn’t deserve to be in the match at half as RSL were consistently the more organized and better team.

The second half played much like the beginning of the match, with RSL creating numerous chances and drawing repeated fouls against the Wizards. Arnaud, in particular, appeared furious at one of the linesman throughout the second half, screaming and arguing even when calls went the Wizards way. This tension eventually came to a head in the 82nd minute when Arnaud verbally challenged the referee after defender Matt Besler was called for a foul on Morales. Having earned a first caution just minutes earlier, Arnaud was shown his second yellow for dissent and was given an early trip to the showers.

RSL were able to easily close out the match after Arnaud’s ejection. Morales nearly scored on the ensuing free kick for the foul on Besler, but Nielsen was up to the task with a stunning foot save. Unfortunately for the Wizards, Russell was in position to slam the ball home after Nielsen’s save and the match seemed well out of reach for an undermanned Wizards side. The final nail in the coffin came in added time when Grabavoy intercepted a horrible back pass from substitute Graham Zusi to blow by Besler for beautiful, calm goal to the right of Nielsen. It was the first goal for both Russell and Grabavoy in a RSL kit, bringing the total number of players who have scored for RSL this season to a shocking 11 different players.

The next 10 days yield a rollercoaster ride for RSL, who will face D.C. United two times in four days and close out their pre World Cup schedule with a rematch against league leaders LA Galaxy. Their trip to Washington D.C. this week brings particular intrigue with it as Wednesday’s match is apart of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup play, followed by a trip to the White House to meet with President Barack Obama on Friday before meeting United again on Saturday for league action.

While RSL have built a deep squad this season to lesson the grind of MLS and Champion’s League play, they currently find themselves in a bind with Williams and defender Chris Wingert picking up hamstring injuries Saturday. These injuries coupled with the absence of midfielders Kyle Beckerman and Nelson González make the next week intriguing from a personnel standpoint for Kreis and RSL. RSL can only hope that they can overcome these interruptions and continue their exciting team play and stunning offensive production en route to an even longer win streak.

MATCH FACTS
REAL SALT LAKE (6-3-1, 19 pts.) v. KANSAS CITY WIZARDS (2-5-2, 8 pts.)
DATE: Saturday, May 29, 2010 — Rio Tinto Stadium

Scoring Summary:
RSL — Fabian Espíndola 3 (Andy Williams 3) 31
RSL — Alvaro Saborío 5 (unassisted) 34
KC — Josh Wolff 1 (Davy Arnaud 1) 42
RSL — Robbie Russell 1 (unassisted) 84
RSL — Ned Grabavoy 1 (unassisted) 92+

Misconduct Summary:
KC — Matt Besler (caution; Tactical Foul) 27
RSL — Jamison Olave (caution; Tactical Foul) 29
KC — Kei Kamara (caution; Tactical Foul) 32
KC — Jimmy Conrad (caution; Tactical Foul) 73
KC — Davy Arnaud (caution; Tactical Foul) 82
KC — Davy Arnaud (ejection; Second Caution) 82

Lineups:
Real Salt Lake — Nick Rimando, Tony Beltran, Nat Borchers, Jamison Olave, Chris Wingert (Robbie Russell 46), Andy Williams (Ned Grabavoy 46), Javier Morales, Jean Alexandre, Will Johnson, Álvaro Saborío, Fabian Espíndola (Pablo Campos 88).

Statistics: SHOTS: 12 (Espíndola 5); SHOTS ON GOAL: 7 (Espíndola, Saborío 2); SAVES: 2 (Rimando 2); FOULS: 11 (Alexandre 3); CORNERS: 2 (Morales 2); OFFSIDES: 5 (Saborío 3)

Kansas City Wizards — Jimmy Nielsen, Jonathan Leathers (Chance Myers 46), Jimmy Conrad, Matt Besler, Michael Harrington, Davy Arnaud, Jack Jewsbury, Josh Wolff (Graham Zusi 77), Teal Bunbury, Kei Kamara, Ryan Smith.

Statistics: SHOTS: 6 (Bunbury, Kamara 2); SHOTS ON GOAL: 3 (3 players with 1); SAVES: 3 (Nielsen 3); FOULS: 14 (Arnaud 8); CORNERS: 4 (Arnaud, Smith 2); OFFSIDES: 1 (Kamara 1)

Referee: Ricardo Salazar
Referee’s Assistants: Eric Boria; Paul Scott
4th Official: Alejandro Mariscal
Weather: Partly Cloudy-and-58-degrees / Attendance: 15,588

All statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial

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Stalemate in the Garden State

Posted on 30 May 2010 by lbarker

The Boston Breakers came to Yurcak Field in New Jersey on Saturday night looking to stop two streaks, an all time winless record against defending WPS Champions Sky Blue FC and the five game winless streak they’ve carried since the second week of the season. After 90 minutes, the Breakers would leave with both still intact, playing to a 0-0 draw with Sky Blue. The result leaves Boston winless in their last six and Sky Blue unbeaten in their last three, but also winless in their last two (ties are a funny thing, indeed).

Heather O'Reilly said she had a lot of fun playing striker ©ASN

Sky Blue FC pressured Boston early, finding their first opportunity in just the 3rd minute. The home team got behind the Breakers defense and managed to send a ball across the goalmouth and just wide. Four minutes later the blue and orange were at it again, with Sky Blue captain Kacey White feeding a ball to Heather O’Reilly. O’Reilly, who started the game at forward rather than her usual spot in the midfield, beat Breakers ‘keeper Ashley Phillips before sending her shot into the side netting. The New Jersey native broke a 14 game national team goalless streak last weekend in Cleveland as the US played Germany, but is still looking for her first league goal this season. After the match O’Reilly said she was happy with the position change. “I have a lot of fun playing striker. I think that’s what I find the most enjoyable about the game, is just being right on the restraining line…I think that up top suits my physical qualities. So I had a lot of fun with it. Unfortunately I couldn’t get the ball in the back of the net today and that’s the job of a striker so what can you do? Hopefully next game we’ll have more goals for us.”

She also acknowledged that she’s ready to play wherever Sky Blue coach Pauliina Miettinen needs her (O’Reilly would indeed move back to the midfield when Jessica Landstrom entered the match in the 72nd minute). “Obviously I’ll do whatever the team needs me to do in terms of position…whether it’s midfield or up top.”

In the 11th minute Sky Blue midfielder Rosana took a deceptive shot from distance that seemed to surprise Phillips. The Breakers ‘keeper managed to recover enough to tip the ball over the bar for a Sky Blue corner. Nothing would come from the set piece and momentum shifted, with the next few opportunities belonging to the Breakers.

In the 14th minute Breakers forward Lauren Cheney fired a low shot, but it rolled wide of the net. Two minutes later, Boston nearly got on the board, with Kelly Smith, Alex Scott, and Laura Del Rio moving the ball into Sky Blue’s defensive third. The English to English to Spanish combination ended when Del Rio sent her shot over the crossbar. In the 21st minute Del Rio sent a low shot in that Sky Blue goalkeeper Karen Bardsley got her fingertips on, sending the ball out for a Boston corner.

Then it was again Sky Blue’s turn. O’Reilly had another opportunity in the 35th minute, but again shot the ball wide. Three minutes later Sky Blue defender Daphne Koster sent a ball over the Boston back line but Laura Kalmari’s shot went well over the crossbar. Just before the halftime whistle O’Reilly once again beat the Boston defense, but like so many of Sky Blue’s shots, hers too sailed over goal.

The second half started with a familiar face returning to the Sky Blue lineup. Forward Tasha Kai, who’s missed the last three matches with a knee/hamstring injury, replaced rookie forward Kiersten Dallstream after the break. “Pretty banged up” said Kai as she outlined her injuries after the game. Kai made her presence felt almost immediately, first playing a ball over the Boston back line for O’Reilly in the 47th minute. O’Reilly beat Amy LePeilbet and took a shot that Ashley Phillips had to stretch to keep out of the back of the net. In the 50th it was Kai again, this time taking the shot herself, but as seemed to be the theme of the night, the ball sailed harmlessly over the bar. “[Her] coming off the bench I know especially just lifts the entire team” O’Reilly said of Kai after the match. “Whether I start or if I come off the bench I know that whatever my role is I’m gonna do it. The team comes before me. If I play ten minutes I’m gonna come in and play the best ten minutes I can possibly give and do whatever I can do to help the team” said Kai.

The next few minutes were a back and forth, first with a defensive miscue leaving Cheney wide open in the box in the 52nd. Sky Blue defender Brittany Taylor won this battle of the rookies, doing well to clear the ball away from danger. In the 56th it was Kai again. The Hawaii native won a header and flicked the ball forward before sprinting to catch up to her own pass. Kai found White who fed a ball towards the middle and Yael Averbuch. Averbuch’s shot? Over the bar.

In the 71st minute Sky Blue’s defense seemed to break down. A scramble in the box nearly led to a the go-ahead goal for the Breakers, but Sky Blue’s back four of Meghan Schnur, Taylor, Koster and India Trotter worked to eventually clear the ball away. The combination of Taylor and Koster in the center of Sky Blue’s defense shut down another attack from Smith in the 75th minute.

As time ticked down most of the attack seemed to be coming from the Breakers. The Sky Blue defense was able to hold on and a save from Bardsley in final minute kept the clean sheet. “Daphne was very solid, Brittany was very solid, Schnur played very well. I think she ran out of gas a little bit in the end” said Miettinen of today’s edition of Sky Blue’s ever evolving back line. The scoreless draw was good for Bardsley’s league leading 4th shutout of the season and her five saves brought her season total to a league-high 46 stops. It was the second shutout for Phillips, the other coming from a 0-0 game against the Washington Freedom.

Sky Blue players came away from the game disappointed but hopeful. “You’re bummed about the missed chances, but you’re also excited for what it means for the future” said O’Reilly. Kai expressed a similar sentiment, “It was a back and forth game. A lot of offense. A lot of defense. There was a lot of holes and seams that we saw through their defense. We had our chances. Real real good chances. They had their chances. The goalkeepers came up big, our defense came up big. For us we just need to finish. You’re only gonna get one or two chances and those one of two chances you have to put the ball in the back of the net and we didn’t get that done today. But the result was something to work on for next week.”

Coaches for both teams felt their respective sides were better on the night but agreed on the disappointment. “We had ’em. We didn’t put them away and you know, one point, I think it’s a little bit disappointing” said Sky Blue’s Pauliina Miettinen. Boston head coach Tony DiCicco made a similar argument for his team “I’m disappointed that we’re not scoring goals. I think either team could’ve won but I think we were the dominant team…I’m very very proud of the way the team played. From a soccer standpoint we did so much right. But this game is about sticking the ball in the back of the net and so we’re frustrated.”

FUN FACTS

When the league officially announced on Thursday that financial troubles had forced St. Louis Athletica to close up shop and join the Los Angeles Sol in the category of “Former WPS Teams,” Sky Blue FC earned a dubious distinction: being the last team that both the Los Angeles Sol and St. Louis Athletica ever played (Sky Blue beat LA in the 2009 WPS final in August, the Sol folded the following January; Sky Blue and Athletica played to a 2-2 result two weeks ago, Athletica folded 11 days later)… Boston is the only WPS team still unbeaten on the road in 2010, with a 1-0-3 record playing in places that aren’t called “Harvard Stadium”… The Breakers have not won a game in more than a month, with their first (and only) win of the season coming on April 10th, a 2-1 victory over the Washington Freedom to open the season… India Trotter made her second start, and third appearance, for Sky Blue since being acquired from St. Louis… Sky Blue defender Christie Rampone was available for the first time this season, but did not play “We trust that back line now…If something happened she would’ve been ready to go in but, we still have so many games left that we don’t want to risk her” said Miettinen after the match about Rampone… Keeley Dowling did not play for the first time this season, and for just the second time in her career… Tasha Kai was not the only Sky Blue player to return to the field tonight; Meghan Schnur made just her third appearance of the season and played all 90 minutes after returning from a knee injury. In 2009 Schnur was the only Sky Blue FC player to start and play all 20 regular season games… Former Sky Blue (and Athletica) forward Sarah Walsh was not available for Boston. Walsh is away on national team duty with Australia… The tie puts Sky Blue at 3-0-2 all-time against Boston.

MATCH FACTS

Sky Blue FC (3-2-2) vs. Boston Breakers (1-2-4)
Saturday, May 29, 2010 — Yurcak Field
Attendance: 3418

SCORING SUMMARY:
None

LINEUPS:

SKY BLUE FC — Karen Bardsley, India Trotter, Daphne Koster, Brittany Taylor, Meghan Schnur, Laura Kalmari, Yael Averbuch, Rosana (Katie Schoepfer, 85′), Kacey White (Jessica Landstrom, 72′), Kiersten Dallstream (Tasha Kai, 47′), Heather O’Reilly

Substitutes Not Used: Kristin Luckenbill, Christie Rampone, Keeley Dowling, Danielle Johnson

BOSTON BREAKERS — Ashley Phillips, Alex Scott, Amy LePeilbet, Kasey Moore, Stephanie Cox, Leslie Osborne, Tiffany Weimer (Fabiana, 64′), Laura del Rio (Jordan Angeli, 83′), Kristine Lilly (Liz Bogus, 88′), Kelly Smith, Lauren Cheney

Substitutes Not Used: Chioma Igwe, Alyssa Naeher

TEAM STATS:

NJ BOS

Shots 14 23
Shots on Goal 1 10
Fouls 6 3
Offsides 5 4
Corner Kicks 4 7
Saves 5 1

MISCONDUCT SUMMARY:
none

OFFICIALS:

Referee: Donald Dellavia
Referee Assistants: Debbie Coleman, Mark Allatin
4th Official: Dario Urrutia

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