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

no images were found

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

Leave a Reply

Advertise Here
Advertise Here