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RSL even Rocky Mountain series behind Espindola brace

Posted on 31 August 2008 by kali

Espindola celebrates RSL’s victory ©ASN/Julia Fizer

Fabian Espindola scored two goals to lead Real Salt Lake in a 2-0 victory over the Colorado Rapids on Friday night. The win ended a two-game losing streak for RSL, preserved the team’s undefeated home record, evened the Rocky Mountain Cup series for the year, and, most critically, kept Salt Lake’s playoff aspirations on track.

Jason Kreis changed his starting lineup from the group that lost at Columbus last weekend. Will Johnson made his RSL debut in the midfield, adapting to his new teammates and the difficult playing surface at Rice-Eccles Stadium well. Kyle Beckerman moved back to the holding midfielder position, and Espindola, Andy Williams, and Ian Joy started as well.

The changes paid off immediately as Real controlled the midfield from the game’s outset against an injury-ravaged Colorado side. Espindola got the game’s first goal-scoring chance 11 minutes in, and Salt Lake never looked back from there. Although the Rapids tested RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando a few times during the first half, the home side kept pressing until they scored a goal.

That goal came in the 23rd minute, when Andy Williams back-heeled a pass to an onrushing Espindola, who beat Colorado goalkeeper Preston Burpo with a neatly-placed strike. Real had a few more chances before halftime, but were unable to add another goal before the break.

In the second half, Salt Lake nearly earned its second goal from Espindola in the 53rd minute, but the goal was ruled offside. However, the Argentine striker did get his goal six minutes later, racing onto a long diagonal ball from Javier Morales and chipping over Burpo to secure a 2-0 lead. The Rapids pressed forward in the last 20 minutes of the match, but were unable to mount many serious challenges to RSL’s lead, and the match ended without any of the late-game scoring often occurring in Rocky Mountain Cup matches.

Espindola beats Clark for a head ball ©ASN/Julia Fizer

Espindola made his first start since May, having battled through injuries throughout the summer. He said of his performance, “I’m very happy to get so much time out on the field. I’m just excited to get out there and play again and help this team towards a title… it’s what I’ve wanted the most.”

Kreis added, “He was spectacular. It’s been a long time coming. I know he’s been so very, very frustrated with his injury situation because it’s lasted a lot longer than he anticipated, or any of us anticipated. To get him back to full fitness and for him to have a game like that tonight going into this stretch before the end of the season should mean great things for us and great things for Fabian.”

Kreis was also pleased with the effort of the rest of his team. “Everybody always wants to talk about the back four and the defenders. For me it was a team effort,” he said. “I believe in a lot of guys. I believe that we should be able to put players in and do better than we have in our last two matches.”

Rapids coach Gary Smith said, “I felt the opportunities we had we just didn’t make the most of. There were three or four occasions where we started to get a little bit of pressure and maybe a couple of openings, and we squandered them. It was one of those games where it was tight and there weren’t going to be a lot of chances either way, and we certainly didn’t make the most of it.”

Scenes like this (in front of RSL’s goal) were rare ©ASN/Julia Fizer

Colorado defender Mike Petke was less diplomatic. “Tonight from the opening whistle to the end, everybody from myself through the forwards, everybody to a man did not show up to play, and that’s extremely disturbing in a game that was so important, not only for us to win but to take away points from Salt Lake,” he said. “The players we brought in are capable players, they’re hungry. But tonight it looked like a preseason game, like it meant nothing, and that’s very disturbing.”

RSL next hosts Mexican side Tigres for a friendly in Salt Lake City on Wednesday before traveling to Los Angeles for a match against the Galaxy next weekend.


Match Facts

Colorado Rapids (7-12-3) vs. Real Salt Lake (8-8-6)
August 29, 2008 — Rice-Eccles Stadium

Scoring Summary:
RSL — Fabian Espindola 4 (Andy Williams 2, Javier Morales 9) 23
RSL — Fabian Espindola 5 (Javier Morales 10) 59
Colorado Rapids — Preston Burpo, Facundo Erpen (Kosuke Kimura 57), Cory Gibbs, Mike Petke, Jose Burciaga Jr., Herculez Gomez (Christian Gomez 46), John DiRaimondo, Nick LaBrocca, Colin Clark, Omar Cummings, Conor Casey (Tom McManus 69),

Substitutes Not Used: Bouna Coundoul, Jordan Harvey, Ciaran O’Brien, Jacob Peterson


Real Salt Lake — Nick Rimando, Chris Wingert, Nat Borchers, Jamison Olave, Ian Joy (Robbie Russell 46), Will Johnson, Kyle Beckerman, Javier Morales, Andy Williams, Kenny Deuchar, Fabian Espindola (Yura Movsisyan 72).

Substitutes Not Used: Kenny Cutler, Robbie Findley, David Horst, Kyle Reynish

Misconduct Summary:
COL — Mike Petke (caution; Dissent) 50
COL — Cory Gibbs (caution; Reckless Foul) 76
RSL — Will Johnson (caution; Reckless Tackle) 81
COL — John DiRaimondo (caution; Dissent) 82
RSL — Chris Wingert (caution; Reckless Foul) 85

Referee: Baldomero Toledo
Referee’s Assistants: Craig Lowry; Frank Anderson
4th official: Edvin Jurisevic
Time of game: 1:49
Attendance: 15,257
Weather: Clear -and- 83 degrees

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  1. Match Report log | American Soccer News Says:

    […] Chicago Fire 0 07/28 RSL 2, Toronto FC 1 08/16 Houston Dynamo 4, RSL 3 08/23 Columbus Crew 3, RSL 0 08/29 RSL 2, Colorado Rapids 0 09/06 RSL 2, LA Galaxy 2 09/13 Red Bulls 2, Real Salt Lake 1 09/20 Chivas USA 1, RSL 0 09/27 RSL 3, […]

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