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RSL Returns to Action Against Quakes

Posted on 24 June 2010 by kali

Real Salt Lake will be hoping to capture a little World Cup magic as it plays host to the San Jose Earthquakes on Friday night.

Riding a 16-game unbeaten streak at home and a seven-game unbeaten run overall in league play, RSL is looking to keep the momentum it had before the World Cup break going.  Meanwhile, San Jose will be seeking revenge for the season opener, when Real defeated the Quakes 3-0 at Buck Shaw Stadium.

While San Jose looked at the break as a chance to regroup after a couple of tough losses, including a 2-0 defeat at FC Dallas on June 5, RSL coach Jason Kreis tried to keep his team from becoming complacent after an epic 1-0 victory over the LA Galaxy just before the hiatus, putting his team up against Costa Rican side Puntarenas FC last Saturday.  While Real won 2-0, getting his players more match experience was the key for Kreis.  “We’ve had big, big breaks in the past and struggled when we come back from them,” Kreis said. “Our biggest goal was to get the guys prepared for [this] weekend.”

On the other hand, the time off has helped RSL’s injury situation substantially.  Midfielders Kyle Beckerman (foot) and Nelson Gonzalez (hamstring) have been upgraded to “questionable” for Friday’s match after long-term injuries kept them out for several weeks; Beckerman told The Salt Lake Tribune that he has made significant progress and hoped to return to full training this week.  Striker Fabian Espindola also has a slight hamstring injury, but is expected to start, as Robbie Findley’s absence with the U.S. national team continues to have an impact on the squad.

Meanwhile, the Quakes have a number of injuries of their own with which to contend.  Andre Luiz (knee), Joey Gjertsen (quad), and Eduardo (hip flexor) will not be available, while Scott Sealy (quad) is doubtful and Arturo
Alvarez (hamstring) is questionable.  However, the team recently acquired midfielder Sam Cronin from Toronto FC to help fill out its roster; he is expected to be available for selection Friday.

Despite the injuries, San Jose still poses an attacking threat.  Chris Wondolowski has six goals this season and Bobby Convey has seven assists, while former Real player Ryan Johnson can also be dangerous.  RSL has a full complement of defenders available, however, with Kreis having his pick among Robbie Russell, Chris Wingert, and Tony Beltran at the outside back positions.

The match will kick off at 7 pm MT and can be seen locally on KUSG 2.2 (Comcast 111/Dish Network 12).

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RSL to Host Galaxy in Championship Rematch

Posted on 08 June 2010 by kali

Real Salt Lake plays host to the Los Angeles Galaxy on Wednesday in what promises to be an eventful affair.

Not only will the two teams battle it out in a rematch of the 2009 MLS Cup, but both teams have been in excellent runs of form recently.  The Galaxy equaled the MLS record for consecutive games unbeaten to start a season in last week’s win over the Houston Dynamo, while RSL is unbeaten in its last six games.

Although Real will be playing its third game within a week, including last week’s US Open Cup play-in loss and a scoreless draw in league play at DC United, coach Jason Kreis has no plans to play conservatively.  With the league World Cup break looming and a shot at ending the Galaxy’s streak on the line, Kreis gave the team a lighter workout on Tuesday in hopes of alleviating the players’ fatigue.

Both teams will be shorthanded — RSL’s Robbie Findley and LA’s Landon Donovan and Edson Buddle are with the U.S. World Cup team as it prepares for its first match in South Africa on Saturday.  In addition, Real’s Kyle Beckerman (foot) and Nelson Gonzalez (hamstring) remain unavailable through injury, although Chris Wingert (hamstring) has been upgraded to probable.  The Galaxy’s Dema Kovalenko (hamstring), Leonardo (quad), and Mike Magee (hip) are all questionable.

With Buddle and Beckerman both unavailable, none of the goal-scorers from this season’s previous contest between the two teams — a 2-1 Galaxy victory in April at the Home Depot Center — will be on the pitch.  With RSL’s Alvaro Saborio and LA’s Tristan Bowen on recent scoring runs, however, goals should be plentiful.

Real is likely to start with largely the same lineup as last weekend.  With Nick Rimando in goal, Nat Borchers, Jamison Olave, Robbie Russell, and Tony Beltran are the probable starting back four, while Fabian Espindola should start alongside Saborio up front.  The midfield presents the most daunting challenge for Kreis, particularly with Beckerman unavailable; Javier Morales, Will Johnson, Collen Warner, Jean Alexandre, and Andy Williams are all candidates for starting positions.

Ticket sales are reportedly brisk, and RSL is planning for an entertaining night, with pre- and post-match activities including community honorees, a pyrotechnic display, and a concert by American Idol winner David Cook.  Regardless, the fans will be expecting a victory for the home side.

The match will kick off at 7 pm MT and can be seen on DirectKick (FS West).

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Lucky 7s

Posted on 23 August 2008 by Mark Bay

Through 20 games, FC Dallas and the Kansas City Wizards have identical 6-7-7 records. Both teams look to improve to straight 7s when they meet this Saturday at CommunityAmerica Ballpark. The Hoops will rely on the prowess of goal-monster Kenny Cooper while the Wizards hope superstar Claudio “El Piojo” Lopez can lead them to victory.

FC Dallas played a strong 45 minutes last weekend, looking the better of the sides versus the league-best Columbus Crew, but lacked the ability to carry their good play to the second half. The Crew, on the back of Guillermo Barros Schelotto, came from behind to hand Dallas their first loss in five games. The Red Stripes will attempt to rebound quickly relying on the speed of recent addition Jeff Cunningham and big Cooper. They will again be without team captain Duilio Davino who is nursing a broken toe.

Kansas City will certainly remember Abe Thompson’s last minute strike to rob them of three points on the teams’ last encounter. The backline, lead by Jimmy Conrad, will not want any repeats. Up top, Josh Wolff leads the way as he tries to adjust back to the MLS game. In the midfield Lopez will try to get some momentum in front a loud home crowd; Kansas City have lost twice in their last three games.

The game is scheduled for Aug. 23, 2008 at 7 p.m. CT.

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