Archive | June, 2009

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Galaxy end Dynamo 11-game unbeaten streak

Posted on 29 June 2009 by ASN Staff

The LA Galaxy got an early goal from an unlikely source (Todd Dunivant, left) and held on to hand the Houston Dynamo their first loss in 12 games at the Home Depot Center Sunday afternoon. For Los Angeles, the win halts a two game slide and puts the team at .500 with one game remaining before the return of a certain English midfielder.

ASN’s Ivan Yeo reports from Los Angeles.

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Confederations Cup Coda

Posted on 29 June 2009 by arozsa

That hurts.

Come on now. Wouldn’t have it been easier for the United States to bow out of the Confederations Cup like good little boys, and let every expert on a message board call for Bob Bradley’s head? Wouldn’t things have gone smoother if Bob Bradley would have emptied his bench against Egypt and gone home humbled while the sharp-shooting American media pined for the days of the vaunted 1994 squad?

But to come this close, only to lose it at the bitter end? That’s pain. That’s agony. That, my friends, is international soccer.

Nothing could come closer to bottling the international soccer experience than the U.S.A.’s 2009 Confederation Cup run, which came to a bitter end Sunday in a 3-2 loss to world power Brazil. There were unbelievable turns of fortune. Untimely red-cards that turned games on their heads. An unmitigated butt-kicking from a far superior team. A clever and inspired win over a far superior team.

The U.S. grasped its first chance and took a one goal lead early. They then mounted a superb counter-attack, quite poetically off a Brazil corner kick, for a shock two-goal lead at the half. Eventually, however, the superior Brazil side wore the U.S. down, and their strike less than a minute into the second half cut the heart out of the Americans, leaving them to contemplate their latest moral victory.

That is of course, if you can call the U.S.A.’s best ever performance in an international tournament a moral victory. Your decision.

Victories and moral victories aside, there are clear observations and lessons to be taken from this tournament.

#1 – Bob Bradley can get it done.

You might not like his substitutions. You might not like the players he picks or the lineups he puts out. You might not like his tactics. But, if for some reason you still find yourself calling for the removal of a coach who just coached a team to a runner-up finish at a FIFA tournament, I’d like you to have a look at this list:

Real Madrid (3), Barcelona (5), Liverpool (6), Arsenal (1), Inter Milan (5), Bayern Munich (2), Roma (3), AC Milan (5), Juventus (5).

Those are the names of the biggest clubs in the world. Those clubs have oodles of money to scout, evaluate and purchase the best talent playing the game. Those numbers beside them represent the number of players in this tournament who play for those team (there are 35 in total).

Guess how many of those players were on the U.S. roster? Get the point?

The American team that you watched come back from the dead to destroy Egypt, stun Spain and call Brazil to its final throw was made of players of middling talent that struggle to make an impact outside of the relative soccer backwaters of the world. This American team you watched this past week, is far, far greater than the sum of its parts.

That, oh blogospheriods, is the tell-tale sign of a damn good coach. This team can compete with the best on any given day with far less talent. What more can you ask for?

#2 – Someone is Going to be Left Home

There were 12 field players that saw significant time during the Confederations Cup run. (Altidore, Davies, Dempsey, Donovan, Clark, Bradley, Bocanegra, Spector, Onyewu DeMerit, Bornstein, Feilhaber). Three more players saw minor minutes (Casey, Beasley, Klejstan). Five players did not play (Wynne, Pearce, Torres, Adu, Califf).

In addition to these players, add Brian Ching, Frankie Hejduk, Steve Cherundolo, Maruice Edu, Pablo Mastroeni and possibly Jermaine Jones to the mix. Now do some quick math. Of all these players mentioned, at least six of them will not be part of next summer’s World Cup squad, assuming the US qualify.

The days of a player like John O’Brien being included on a roster after a handful of club games (2006) are finally gone. The boys had better stay sharp, or they’ll be watching from the couch like the rest of us next summer. And that is fantastic news for the U.S. program.

#3 – The Missing Pieces are Clear

The Confederations Cup demonstrated clearly the type of soccer that Bob Bradley intends to play when challenged by the best, and more importantly, the type of players he’s looking for at each position. He likes central midfielders that look to aggressively ball win and spring counter attacks. A pair of menacing, physically imposing strikers is a must. The attacking midfielders should stay narrow, cover a ton of ground and look to attack quickly and directly. The width should come from the fullbacks, but only when the opportunity presents itself.

So what are the missing links to putting together a roster that’s key for this kind of game?

It’s clear the U.S. needs another striking option in the mold of Charlie Davies. Charlie was a revelation during this tournament, giving the US a lethal counterattacking running mate for Landon Donovan that had sorely been lacking. But when Charlie is tired, or out of form, or twists a knee, who will Bob turn to for this style of play?

Donovan and Dempsey ran their tails off this tournament from their midfield positions, both surging forward and tracking back to defend when the situation called for it. Dempsey, in particular, ran out of steam by the end, and it would be wise for Bob to find another player he can count on in this important position. This is where the loss of form of a guy like Beasley is quite critical, and while there are a host of young attacking options who might become prominent over the next year, one wonders if any of those players will offer the two-way commitment of Donovan and Dempsey that flat out made this team tick.

#4 – The World, and Maybe Even the Country is Watching

Heads were turned. Hearts were won. The mainstream media (gasp) paid attention. Expectations, perhaps unfairly, were raised. Next summer we play for keeps. But in the meantime, Estadio Azteca beckons.

The test begins now.

USMNT Player Ratings (scale of 1-10 with 10 being best):

Howard – 8
Thoroughly deserved hardware for Tim. A big time keeper who’s every bit the equal of the net-minders that appear deep in the Champions League year after year.

Onyewu – 8
Massive in the air once again and repeatedly cut out attack after attack. Probably made himself a much richer man over the last few weeks.

Demerit – 7
Will probably cede his starting spot to the skipper Bocanegra, but U.S. fans will breathe easier knowing that a capable replacement is at hand. Couldn’t have done more on 1st goal.

Bocanegra – 6
Never looked entirely comfortable at left back, but that could be more due to his hamstring injury. Should have done better with a first half header, and perhaps a 100% Bocanegra would have been the lethal set piece threat that has stung Brazil in the past.

Spector – 7
Skinned by Kaka on the equalizer, but utterly silenced the prancing brat Robinho the entire night. Provided another assist from a deep position. West Ham fans, take note.

Clark – 7
Sorely missed his partner Bradley today, as did the rest of the team. Fought hard and while he wasn’t perfect with the ball, a few years in a tough European league fighting for his place would be just the ticket to tighten his game up. Alertly played Donovan into space to spring the counter attack.

Feilhaber – 5
Although he made a few nice tackles out there, he was often lunging and out of position. To be fair, this role was not made for Benny, and a player like Pablo Mastroeni or Maurice Edu would have been far better suited for the task at hand. He was the best option available, and he gamely tried his best to fill the ever growing shoes of the younger Bradley.

Dempsey – 7
Terrific opening goal, but never should have been asked to mark the colossal Lucio on a set piece when his legs were clearly gone. Ran until he nearly collapsed the past 5 games and thoroughly deserved his hardware as the third best player in the tournament. Is long overdue for a two-week nap.

Donovan – 7
The clinical counterattack finish is what US fans have been waiting for since 2002. This guy can flat out bring it with the best of them, and one has to wonder if his time at Bayern Munich left him with some genuine self-belief. Might very well be amongst the fittest players in the world.

Davies – 7
The revelation of the tournament. He’s the menacing counterattacking threat the US is going to need to play against the big boys, and is going to have an enjoyable autumn of absolutely terrorizing CONCACAF opposition. He was the only thing keeping Brazil from sending their entire backline into the attacking fray.

Altidore – 5
Clearly fatigued, and his sharpness had faded before the half. Hard to believe he’s only a teenager though, and when this kid starts to play regularly, the goals are going to pile up quickly.

Subs
Klejstan – 5 –
Looks off the pace. Needs to settle his club situation and regroup, especially with competition from Edu and Jermaine Jones looming.

Bornstein – 5 –
Did what he was asked. A move to Europe is a must if he has a mind of claiming the left back spot outright.

Casey – NR –
Not enough time for the big man. He’s going to need a bucketload of MLS goals to stay in consideration when Brian Ching returns, though.

Coach Bob Bradley – Incomplete
How do you turn this tournament success into World Cup success? Or even shorter term, how do you turn it into success at the ever looming Estadio Azteca? Time will tell.

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Chivas tie San Luis to finish off disappointing Superliga performance

Posted on 29 June 2009 by Steve L. Hernandez

Chivas USA disappoints in Superliga for the second consecutive season, finishing with two losses and a tie in three matches.

With Tigres UANL of the Mexican Futbol League having defeated the Chicago Fire by a 2-1 margin earlier in the evening, thereby eliminating the Red and White from advancing in Superliga, Chivas USA entered its matchup with San Luis with nothing to play for but pride and the chance to knock their opponents out of the tournament.

After a scoreless, mostly uneventful first half, the Gladiadores’s took advantage of Chivas USA’s backup goalkeeper, Lance Parker, who came on at the half in place of stalwart Zach Thornton. Parker, playing his first minutes of the season, fouled Jose Reyes in the penalty area and was unable to stop the subsequent penalty taken by Alfredo Moreno in the 54th minute of the match. “Lance was maybe a little bit too anxious . . . he hadn’t settled in yet,” said Preki of his young goalkeeper.

The Goats’ immediate response let everyone know that they were not going down without a fight. Less than a minute after San Luis took the lead, Carey Talley, taking a free kick from a few yards outside the box, let rip a curving right-footed shot that looked destined for the back of the net before caroming off the right cross bar.

Chivas USA had another great scoring chance in the 78th minute, but leading goal-scorer Eduardo Lillingston rushed an open shot from the right side of the box wide of the net.

The Red and White finally found the back of the net in the 88th minute, when Attiba Harris beat onrushing San Luis keeper Adrian Martinez to a curling corner kick from Bojan Steponavich and nodded the ball into the left side of the goal.

San Luis, needing a goal to to advance to the semifinals of the tournament, had a couple of golden opportunities in the final minutes, but a a tough offside call negated a second goal by Moreno in the 91st minute and tumbling effort by Braulio Luna spun just wide of the goal a minute later.

The final strong opportunity of the match was for Chivas’s Attiba Harris, who found himself alone a few yards inside San Luis’s box with only the keeper to beat but his shot was deflected out of danger by Martinez just before the end of the match in the 93rd minute.

Though his squad was unable to get a win in Superliga, Preki was pleased with the effort. “Overall, a good performance by our team, especially given the circumstances. We had a fight in us, we played for each other, and that’s good to see that we got that mentality back.”

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Hot streak continues with win over Toronto

Posted on 29 June 2009 by Patrick McShane

Real Salt Lake rolled to an impressive victory over Toronto FC in front of 18,188 fans at Rio Tinto Stadium Saturday night. While it was not their largest margin of victory for the season, it was easily to the best team performance for RSL and a victory that should give the squad confidence over the next month as they will lose a glut of midfielders to the Gold Cup competition.

Skip right to the photo gallery.

It was a fond farewell to captain Kyle Beckerman, starting his last match before leaving to join the U.S. Men’s National Team next weekend. Beckerman scored a goal and proved to be dangerous against a lackluster Toronto side all evening. Already without integral midfielder Will Johnson, who left to join the Canadian National Team earlier in the week, as well as suspended defender Jamison Olave, RSL desperately needed someone to step up and guide the team to victory. Fortunately for the team and its supporters, there were a number of heroes Saturday evening.

Early in the match it felt as though victory could go either way. Both teams created chances but neither had the finishing prowess to take the lead.

“I felt like Toronto was winning most of the 50-50 battles in those first 15 minutes, but then slowly but surely we got into it. And then we get that goal and I think it really changes things.”

“That goal” which coach Jason Kreis is referring to came in the 21st minute when striker Yura Movsisyan took a sloppy back pass from Toronto midfielder Amado Guevara and ran untouched for 30 yards before coolly chipping the ball over Toronto keeper Stefan Frei. It was Movsisyan’s 3rd goal in four matches, and a goal that broke open the floodgates of RSL control for the remainder of the evening.

Less than 15 minute later RSL had another opportunity to bury Toronto after continuing to pressure the final third. Movsisyan continued to pressure and fight Toronto’s defenders all over the pitch, eventually finding himself open on the right wing. While Beckerman reached Movsisyan’s low cross right in front of goal, he tried to finesse the shot and instead hit the ball straight to Frei.

Thankfully Beckerman was able to make amends just a few minutes later when he knocked home a beautiful pass from Javier Morales right in front of goal. It was the 4th assist of the season for Morales as he has struggled to match his output from last season, while Clint Mathis also earned an assist on the play, which placed him in a three-way tie for 2nd place in assists for the season with 6 helpers.

RSL eventually finished Toronto off late in the second half when Ned Grabavoy fought off three players in the middle of the pitch and found a wide-open Mathis on the right wing. Taking his time to set up the shot, Mathis easily put the ball past Frei for the third tally of the match, capping another magnificent performance this season. Noted Mathis after the match: “I just feel good. I’m actually happy to play soccer here, and I think there were a few years where different circumstances were happening and I was almost thinking ‘What was I doing in the sport? It’s not making me happy,’ and I always said that I’d quit when I wasn’t happy.”

The win comes at a crucial time, as RSL will now face the next two league matches without Beckerman, Johnson, and rookie midfielder Jean Alexandre. While they are undefeated in the last four matches, it will take a team effort equal to Saturday night for RSL to keep their hot streak alive and on track for playoff contention. “I think we’re getting back into form,” said Beckerman. “The confidence is coming back, Yura [Movsisyan] is heating up, and we’re getting goals in timely parts of the game, and if you do that, you can go far.”

Photo Gallery

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RSL PLAYER ASSESSMENTS

Rimando – Wasn’t really tested after the first twenty minutes. It was Rimando’s fourth shutout of the season and his third in the last six matches.

Russell – You have to respect Russell’s versatility and ability to fill in for the suspended Jamison Olave. The backline didn’t seem to miss a beat while Russell appeared to cage some of his inclinations to move forward on attack in order to remain conservative on defense.

Wingert – Probably Wingert’s best match of the season. It felt like he put forth a mentally strong performance marked with wise choices. He never appeared to be overmatched which is a nice change from some other performances this season.

Borchers – Many scoffed last season at his receipt of the defender of the year recognition for the team. Those who did should take one look at his performance this season and notice that he has again silently put together a stalwart season anchoring RSL’s defense.

Beltran – While I was admittedly harsh towards Beltran earlier this season, he has bounced back and proved me wrong over the past couple of weeks. I can’t help but feel that the newly utilized 4-3-3 formation feeds into Beltran’s natural abilities and has helped focus his defensive resolve.

Beckerman – It’s a shame that Beckerman put together his best all-around performance of the season right before he leaves for national team duty. It was exciting to watch the Beckerman of old dominate the defensive third while still finding the energy to push up on attack. I hope he can continue this newfound confidence upon his return.

Grabavoy – The loss of Johnson and Beckerman last season would have destroyed this squad. However, Grabavoy has added a great dynamic of leadership and veteran savvy that can’t be underestimated. His ability to set up Mathis for the 3rd goal was brilliant.

Morales – While the assist was a step in the right direction, Morales still has miles to go to earn the title of RSL’s best player. He needs to show up every match and not drift in and out depending on how physical the other team is playing. The next couple of weeks will be the perfect opportunity for him to shine.

Mathis – Mathis was deservedly winded late in the match, as he owned the right wing all evening. While his late goal seemed like a “gimmie,” it’s important to note that other RSL players have blown open shots on goal earlier this year.

Espindola – His return to RSL could be the greatest move by the front office all season. Espindola’s speed and left-footed ability is unrivaled on this squad and it’s a shame he also didn’t claim a goal as he set the offense in motion all evening.

Movsisyan – Just over a month ago I was cursing Movsisyan and wanting a change in attack. Now I can’t imagine this revamped squad without him on the pitch. His work-rate has always been there, but his production seemed to be lacking. Now he’s getting the goals and RSL seems to be back on track.

SUBS
Williams – Came on right before the final goal but had little to do outside of holding up the ball and controlling the tempo. Fans should be counting their blessings that Williams declined the invitation to join the Jamaican National Team, as he will be even more valuable during July.

Joy – It was a sentimental substitution as Joy saw his first minutes of the season after battling back from a crippling hamstring injury. Neither Wingert or Beltran were playing poorly, it just made sense to get Joy some time on the pitch.

Nunez – I’m not sure he even touched the ball in the final 2 minutes of added time.

MATCH FACTS

Toronto FC (6-6-4) vs. Real Salt Lake (5-6-4)
June 27, 2009 — Rio Tinto Stadium

Scoring Summary:
RSL — Yura Movsisyan 4 (unassisted) 21
RSL — Kyle Beckerman 2 (Javier Morales 4, Clint Mathis 6) 44
RSL — Clint Mathis 2 (Ned Grabavoy 2) 78

Toronto FC — Stefan Frei, Nana Attakora, Nick Garcia, Adrian Serioux, Jim Brennan, Dwayne De Rosario, Sam Cronin, Carl Robinson, Amado Guevara (Danny Dichio 46), Pablo Vitti (Marco Velez 69), Chad Barrett (Fuad Ibrahim 82).

Real Salt Lake — Nick Rimando, Chris Wingert, Nat Borchers, Robbie Russell, Tony Beltran (Ian Joy 83), Kyle Beckerman (Tino Nunez 91+), Ned Grabavoy, Javier Morales (Andy Williams 75), Clint Mathis, Yura Movsisyan, Fabian Espindola.

Misconduct Summary:
TOR — Chad Barrett (caution; Reckless Foul) 46+
TOR — Jim Brennan (caution; Reckless Foul) 51
TOR — Pablo Vitti (caution; Goalkeeper Interference) 61
TOR — Adrian Serioux (caution; Reckless Tackle) 65

Referee: Edvin Jurisevic
Referee’s Assistants: George Gansner; Frank Anderson
4th official: Yader Reyes
Attendance: 18,188 / Weather: Clear -and- 77 degrees

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RSL continues hot streak with 3-0 shutout of TFC

Posted on 28 June 2009 by ASN Staff

Real Salt Lake rolled to an impressive 3-0 victory over Toronto FC at Rio Tinto Stadium Saturday night. The victory should give the squad confidence over the next month as it will be short a glut of midfielders to international call-ups ahead of the Gold Cup competition.

Skip right to the photo gallery or the RSL player assessments.

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Did Bob Bradley’s substitution policy (or delay in instituting one) doom the U.S. vs. Brazil?

Posted on 28 June 2009 by ASN Staff

Perhaps it just wasn’t meant to be. The U.S. Men’s National Team put on a brave showing and jumped out to a shocking 2-0 lead in the first half of the Confederations Cup final at Johannesburg Sunday. But a resurgent second half performance by Brazil, along with a refusal by USMNT head coach Bob Bradley to go to his bench until it was too late, doomed the Yanks, who lost 3-2.

The U.S. was holding on to a 2-1 lead midway through the second half when Brazilian coach Dunga brought on a pair of fresh players, Daniel Alves and Blumer Elano, in one swoop. The USMNT defense at that point looked stretched and at the breaking point; its players tired. The Brazilians, denied the apparent tying goal when the referee failed to see a ball had crossed the line moments earlier, had reestablished control of the match. With two more fresh players, surely the balance of power would tip in Brazil’s favor even more. It was, in short, a necessary time for Bradley to go to his bench.

Why he refused to do so remains an open question. Presumably, Bradley lacked confidence in players at his disposal (Sacha Kljestan, Luis Robles, Marvell Wynne, Heath Pearce, DaMarcus Beasley, Jonathan Bornstein, Conor Casey, Jose Francisco Torres and Freddy Adu, for the record). This is understandable on the one hand, as none of the aforementioned impressed much in recent national team play (then again, neither did most of the starters until the Egypt game). Perhaps Bradley was simply hoping to hold on and nurse whatever minutes he could from his starters. For whatever reason, his response did not come until the 74th minute–nine full minutes after Dunga’s move–and after Brazil had equalized. At that point it was too late. The U.S. was on the ropes and Lucio’s game-winner in the 83rd minute the logical conclusion.

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On the bright side…

Still, despite this disappointment, nobody in the U.S. Men’s National Team camp has anything to apologize for. The U.S. run was nothing short of remarkable. The semifinal victory over Spain will go into the annals of great upsets in the history of U.S. team sports (though we agree with those who say it bears no comparison with certain events in Lake Placid, N.Y., circa 1980). After two subpar group stage matches against Italy and Brazil, the U.S. stepped up with some of its best soccer ever. Yes, even better than 2002. That gives U.S. soccer fans reason to be optimistic going into the final rounds of Hex qualifiers and ultimately, next year’s World Cup tournament itself. A lot can still happen between now and then, of course. And no matter its progress at the Confederations Cup, the U.S. still has no realistic chance of competing for the 2010 World Cup. Anybody who says otherwise, in the mainstream media or elsewhere, simply has no clue about the sport or its showpiece tournament. Fact.

Nevertheless, U.S. soccer fans have many reasons to feel gratified. Not only did their team exceed expectations, but their media even took (some) notice. Those are two major accomplishments that speak to the bright future of the sport in this country. We’ll take it.

Read more about the USMNT’s loss to Brazil here, including player ratings and the lessons it should take from the tournament.

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Galaxy to host Dynamo in Sunday night match-up

Posted on 28 June 2009 by iyeo

Opposites will attract at the Home Depot Center on Sunday night.

The Los Angeles Galaxy and the Houston Dynamo get together for the first time this season. Both teams come in with intentions to win, but for different reasons. The Dynamo will look to continue its amazing run of form while the Galaxy will look to break out of a mini-slump.

The Dynamo have been the hottest team in MLS. Houston is unbeaten in its last 11 matches, a streak that has spanned three months. To put it in perspective, The Dynamo haven’t lost since April 4, when it dropped a 1-0 decision to DC United. Since then, Houston has gone 8-0-3, including a stretch of five straight wins. Houston played to a 1-1 draw in its recent match against visiting Real Salt Lake on June 20. The Dynamo’s surge has allowed them to overtake Chivas USA for first place in the Western Conference.

The Galaxy on the other hand need this match to get its season back on track. The Galaxy actually had its own unbeaten streak, which spanned ten matches, but only two of those matches saw the Galaxy come out with three points. Los Angeles saw its unbeaten streak come to an end against RSL on June 13 and suffered another loss a week later against the an Jose Earthquakes 2-1.

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Rapids Travel to the Emerald City

Posted on 27 June 2009 by Jeff Cann

After a mid-week draw in Colorado, played against FC Dallas, the Colorado Rapids make their first trip to the northwest to face Seattle Sounders FC.

Colorado [5-2-6; 21 pts] remain in fourth place, just 1 point behind Seattle [5-3-7; 22 pts]. Earlier this season, the Rapids and Sounders played to a 2-2 draw in Commerce City. This is the second and final meeting for the 2009 season.

Colorado averages 1.62 goals per game and their top scorer, Conor Casey [8 goals] remains in the US MNT squad for the FIFA Confederations Cup final tomorrow.

Colorado is in the midst of a franchise record 8 game streak without a loss. They will face a tough Sounders team who plays well at home, in front of 33,000 fans.

Injury Report

COLORADO RAPIDS
NONE

SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC
OUT: GK Chris Eylander (L medial knee bone bruise); DF Zach Scott (partial tear abdominal muscle); DF Taylor Graham (R metatarsal fracture); DOUBTFUL: FW Jarrod Smith (L hamstring strain); PROBABLE: MF Sebastien Le Toux (R ankle sprain); MF Steve Zakuani (L ankle sprain)

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Weakened by Gold Cup call-ups, RSL to face TFC

Posted on 26 June 2009 by kali

Just when Real Salt Lake got its mojo back, the rug is being pulled out from underneath it.

Four RSL players have received call-ups to their national teams for the upcoming Gold Cup: Kyle Beckerman (USA), Will Johnson (Canada), Andy Williams (Jamaica), and Jean Alexandre (Haiti). Johnson and Alexandre have already left the team for their respective training camps, while Williams and Beckerman will depart after Saturday’s match.

That means, for the next two or three matches at least, Real won’t have the full team that’s gone on a recent run of form. After defeating the LA Galaxy at the Home Depot Center on June 13, Salt Lake battled to a 1-1 draw at Houston last Saturday, having led the Dynamo for most of the game until another RSL red card and a late Houston equalizer foiled a tremendous defensive effort.

Subsequently, as Real returns to Utah for a home game against Toronto FC on Saturday night, it has a lot to consider. After returning from Houston, Real defeated the PDL’s Ogden Outlaws 4-0 in an exhibition match on Tuesday. Coach Jason Kreis gave most of his starters at least a half in Ogden, with Yura Movsisyan scoring twice.

On Saturday, however, Real will be without defensive mainstay Jamison Olave, who was sent off against Houston, and RSL’s injury list is growing again as well. Strikers Robbie Findley and Fabian Espindola were listed as questionable this week. In addition, defenders Nat Borchers, Ian Joy, and Robbie Russell are considered probable for Saturday. Espindola, Borchers, Joy, and Russell all participated in the Tuesday exhibition, however. RSL has also reportedly released striker Luis Miguel Escalada, although the club has yet to make an official statement.

The international absences, suspensions, and injuries will force Kreis to make yet another change to his starting lineup against Toronto. Russell is the likeliest candidate to fill in for Olave in the back, while Johnson’s absence and the injured strikers mean that a change from the 4-3-3 formation that has worked so well for Real recently is also possible.

Meanwhile, Toronto brings some good form of its own to Rio Tinto Stadium, riding a three-game winning streak. TFC defeated the New York Red Bulls 2-0 at home on Wednesday night and won the Nutrilite Canadian Championship last week.

Toronto recently signed Canadian international Ali Gerba, but the striker has joined his national team for the Gold Cup and will not be available against RSL. In addition, defender Marvell Wynne remains with the US national team at the Confederations Cup in South Africa.

TFC’s Amado Guevara and Adrian Serioux were considered questionable this week but played 90 minutes against New York. In addition, defender O’Brian White had been listed as out this week; he was also on the official roster for Wednesday night’s match but did not play.

The match will kick off at 7:30 MT and can be seen locally on KUTV 2.2/Comcast 111.

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ASN photo gallery: Rapids 1, FC Dallas 1

Posted on 26 June 2009 by ASN Staff

ASN’s ace photographers Mike Murphy and Nick Murphy were at DSGP Wednesday night gathering photographic evidence of the Rapids match with FC Dallas (read the match report here). Check out a gallery of some of their favorite shots on ASN’s Rapids page.

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