Tag Archive | "Espindola"

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Defense on display as RSL beat Red Bulls 1-0

Posted on 05 September 2010 by Patrick McShane

Real Salt Lake tied the longest home-undefeated streak in Major League Soccer history on Saturday night as they dispatched the newly upgraded New York Red Bulls 1-0. Heading into the match one would assume that it would be a high-powered offensive affair due to New York’s striker tandem of Juan Pablo Angel and newly acquired Thierry Henry against RSL’s league-leading offense that has tallied 35 goals this season. In the end, however, it was the defenses of both teams that stole the show, with the lone goal coming early in the match off of a Fabian Espíndola slow roller past onrushing keeper Greg Sutton in the 4th minute.

With the victory RSL not only equaled the undefeated home record, but they also set a new team record for single-season points (43), wins (12), and shutouts (11), with 7 league matches still remaining this season. Additionally, RSL now sit only 3 points behind the LA Galaxy and 1 point behind the Columbus Crew in the race for the Supporters’ Shield. Coach Jason Kreis echoed the teams focus on breaking records and continuing to win at home. “I think in our next match we will be gangbusters going to break the record. It is important to us.”

Despite missing newly acquired DP Rafael Marquez, New York still posed a frightening attack with Angel, Henry, and newcomer of the year candidate Joel Lindpere feeding from the wings. However, it appeared throughout the match that the New York needed Marquez more than they realized as their midfield struggled to connect passes to their forwards, essentially nullifying Henry’s impact on the match. Noted Henry after the match: “I don’t know if you saw in the first half, but we played long ball, which is not the way the game should be played. You saw the way that Salt Lake, they pass the ball on the ground. I think Rafa not being here was a bit difficult for us because he has a great vision and can calm people down, so we definitely missed him today.”

While RSL deserved the victory, it did take the stellar play of keeper Nick Rimando, stout defense from RSL’s entire back line, and some luck thanks to some clearances off of the goal line from Kyle Beckerman & Andy Williams. Seeing that New York has perpetually been a thorn in RSL’s side, particularly at Ro Tinto Stadium, it is certain that the players and coaches would be happy to escape with a 1-0 victory and continue their push to the post season.

REAL SALT LAKE (12-4-7, 43 pts.) v. NEW YORK RED BULLS (11-8-4, 37 pts.)
SATURDAY, SEPT. 4, 2010 – RIO TINTO STADIUM

Scoring Summary:
RSL — Fabian Espíndola 6 (Kyle Beckerman 3, Javier Morales 7) 4

Misconduct Summary:
NY — Tony Tchani (caution; Tactical Foul) 18
NY — Danleigh Borman (caution; Tactical Foul) 38
RSL — Jamison Olave (caution; Tactical Foul) 39
NY — Seth Stammler (caution; Tactical Foul) 74

New York Red Bulls — Greg Sutton, Chris Albright (Salou Ibrahim 86), Carlos Mendes, Tim Ream, Danleigh Borman, Macoumba Kandji (Sinisa Ubiparipovic 76), Seth Stammler, Tony Tchani, Joel Lindpere, Thierry Henry, Juan Pablo Angel.

Real Salt Lake — Nick Rimando; Robbie Russell, Jamison Olave, Nat Borchers, Chris Wingert; Andy Williams, Kyle Beckerman, Javier Morales, Ned Grabavoy; Robbie Findley (Nelson Gonzalez 75), Fabian Espíndola (Pablo Campos 50).

Referee: Ricardo Salazar?
Referee’s Assistants: Kermit Quisenberry; Eric Boria?
4th Official: Paul Ward?
Attendance: 19,115 / Weather: Clear and 91 degrees

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Crew crumble 2-0 to rival RSL

Posted on 15 August 2010 by Patrick McShane

Real Salt Lake continued their scintillating play at home Saturday as the dispatched the Columbus Crew 2-0 to extend their home undefeated streak to 21 matches, just one away from the league record set by the Crew in the 2008-2009 season. With an upcoming CONCACAF Champions League match at home versus Arabe Unido of Panama, RSL were able to not only secure a vital victory, but also rest some of their key players in the process.

Fueled by media reports throughout the week noting the growing tension between the two squads, the 16,906 fans that came to see a physical grudge match between two top tier teams were not let down. Recently there have been stories citing a number of Crew players who made off-handed comments about the legitimacy of RSL’s championship run last season, after the unheralded Salt Lake squad took a losing record into the playoffs and dominated the favored Crew both home and away en route to a magical run to win the MLS Cup. With both teams currently having the second and third best records in MLS, it was not only a match filled with emotion but a vital contest as they are still in the running for the Supporters’ Shield.

From the opening minute both teams were trying to establish some dominance, with referee Jorge Gonzalez having to separate RSL’s Jamison Olave from Crew forward Steven Lenhart in the first five minutes of play. While the match had a surprisingly low number of cautions, with Frankie Hejduk earning the lone yellow card, this early battle set a theme for the entire match that was relentless for the entire 90 minutes.

Scoring a paltry single goal mid-week at Philadelphia, RSL were hoping to get on the score sheet early in order to set Columbus on their heals. Thankfully for the RSL coaching staff, midfielder Javier Morales answered that call as he blasted home RSL’s first goal less than 12 minutes into the match, putting RSL in the driver’s seat and on their way to a comfortable victory. Taking a short corner from Fabian Espíndola, Morales was able to run freely just outside of the Crew’s box as he lashed a rocket through traffic to the right post. Keeper Will Hesmer appeared lost on the play as Danny O’Rourke didn’t close down on the creative midfielder and he had far too much time to pick his placement for the shot.

While the Crew appeared to be more organized and poised in the second half, the match never really felt out of RSL’s control and it seemed like only a matter of time until the lead was extended. This potential was eventually fulfilled in the 60th minute after Ned Grabavoy was mugged from behind just outside of the box. It was again another perfect opportunity for Morales to excel, and he didn’t let fans down. As the positioning of the ball seemed a little too close for a shot over the Crew wall, Morales keenly powered the ball low and through the wall to the right, well beyond the reach of Hesmer.

Both teams now face a busy week as they play Wednesday night in the CONCACAF Champions League, with RSL playing their fourth match in 12 days. Thanks to the dominating performance, Morales only logged 63 minutes of play and standout newcomer Álvaro Saborío was able to rest the entire match. While it may be easy to assume that the players are tired and may not be able to get energized for Wednesday’s match, coach Jason Kreis feels that he won’t have a hard time finding players interested in competing. “Talking to quite a few of the guys last week, we made the decision to rest a bunch of them… I thought it was going to be a little bit of a sales job for me to tell them how important this tournament is for our club. As has happened many times before, my players made me very pleased because they were all saying how important it was to them.”

The match kicks off this Wednesday at 8:00 pm MST and can be seen on Fox Soccer Channel.

REAL SALT LAKE (11-4-6, 39 pts.) v. COLUMBUS CREW (11-5-4, 37 pts.)
SATURDAY, AUGUST 14, 2010 – RIO TINTO STADIUM

Scoring Summary:
RSL — Javier Morales 5 (Fabian Espíndola 2) 11?
RSL — Javier Morales 6 (unassisted) 60

Misconduct Summary:
CLB — Frankie Hejduk (caution; Reckless Tackle) 48

Lineups:
Columbus Crew — William Hesmer, Frankie Hejduk (Jason Garey 81), Eric Brunner, Chad Marshall, Shaun Francis, Emilio Renteria (Leandre Griffit 56), Adam Moffat, Danny O’Rourke, Emmanuel Ekpo, Steven Lenhart, Guillermo Barros Schelotto (Dilly Duka 75).

Real Salt Lake — Nick Rimando, Robbie Russell, Nat Borchers, Jamison Olave, Tony Beltran, Ned Grabavoy (Nelson Gonzalez 82), Kyle Beckerman, Javier Morales (Andy Williams 63), Will Johnson, Robbie Findley (Pablo Campos 72), Fabian Espindola.

Referee: Jorge Gonzalez?
Referee’s Assistants: Craig Lowry; Ian Anderson?
4th Official: Yader Reyes?
?Attendance: 16,906

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RSL blast past unorganized Revs

Posted on 03 July 2010 by Patrick McShane

A packed house of 19,101 fans welcomed striker Robbie Findley back from the FIFA World Cup Friday night as Real Salt Lake blasted the New England Revolution 5-0. While most teams struggle to get a result on the road against RSL, it appears that New England labor more than most as the loss nearly mirrored the 6-0 beat down they endured at Rio Tinto Stadium last year. Goals from Fabian Espíndola, Jamison Olave, Findley, and two from Alvaro Saborío paved the way as RSL’s unbeaten streak reached nine matches and a home record 18 games without a loss.

While RSL’s overall team performance was impressive and dominant, New England assisted their effort by playing apathetic and indifferent for most of the evening. In fact, the only fight New England really displayed throughout the evening was between each other as RSL’s midfield tore through the opposition en route to a dazzling offensive display that the team has been patiently waiting for over the past month.

Both squads entered the match with a number of challenges. Despite holding the second spot in the Western Conference, RSL has been recently plagued by anemic offensive displays over the last three league matches and continue to endure personnel concerns. Captain Kyle Beckerman again failed to make the game day 18 after suffering a setback during the week as he attempts to come back from a foot injury. Midfielder Nelson González also remained unavailable as his loan status from club Quilmes Atlético in Argentina is still under negotiation. New England, on the other hand, continues to battle a myriad of injuries as well as a bit of an identity crisis as the club remains in contention in the East, but sadly boast one of the highest goals against in the league.

To some extent the final score doesn’t fully express New England’s effort over the first 15 minutes, as they were the far more aggressive and physical side while maintaining much of the possession. However, that effort and motivation quickly dissipated in the 27th minute when Espíndola latched on to a perfectly placed ball over the top from Robbie Russell and slotted the ball past New England keeper Matt Reis. Though the goal and effort seemed simple, it opened up RSL’s attack and triggered the flood that was to follow.

“From there on I think a lot of things are unlocked and New England has to change what they’re doing, has to try to chase the game,” noted RSL coach Jason Kreis. “As we’ve seen in the past, we’re a little bit of a difficult team to play against when we unlock things and have ourselves the lead.”

The rest of the match was clockwork for RSL, as they added a nifty header from Olave just before the half and then an easy tap in from Saborío off of another perfect cross from Russell just minutes into the second half. New England were suddenly in damage control mode as they began to restrict their attack and bunker in hopes of slowing down a now rampant RSL offense.

Though it could be assumed that the Olave goal before half broke New England’s spirits, coach Steve Nicol felt differently. “No, the third goal is the one that finishes it. If we can get some chances and maybe get a goal then we are right back in it. Again, the third one is the one that does it. It was just poor defending on the play.”

Saborío added his second tally just before the hour mark with a cheeky back heel flick on goal after a low, driven cross from Javier Morales. Findley finished off the match when he made a darting run on the left before cutting into the middle past a beleaguered Kevin Alston for a low rocket to the far post. It was Findley’s first goal for RSL in nearly two months and a strike that many hope will set the tone for the rest of the season as Findley struggled to find his form and make an impact in the MLS prior to his departure for the World Cup.

RSL will again have a short turnaround as they travel to the scene of last year’s Eastern Conference Final victory on Thursday to battle the Chicago Fire.

REAL SALT LAKE (8-3-3, 27 pts.) v. NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (3-9-2, 11 pts.)
FRIDAY, JULY 2, 2010 – RIO TINTO STADIUM

Scoring Summary:
RSL — Fabian Espíndola 4 (Robbie Russell 2) 27
RSL — Jamison Olave 3 (Javier Morales 5) 47+
RSL — Álvaro Saborío 6 (Robbie Russell 3, Will Johnson 1) 52
RSL — Álvaro Saborío 7 (Javier Morales 6) 57
RSL — Robbie Findley 2 (unassisted) 85

Misconduct Summary:
RSL — Fabian Espíndola (caution; Tactical Foul) 22
RSL — Chris Wingert (caution; Tactical Foul) 47

New England Revolution – GK-Matt Reis; DF-Kevin Alston, DF-Cory Gibbs, DF-Emmanuel Osei, DF-Seth Sinovic; MF-Sainey Nyassi (Kheli Dube 61), MF-Shalrie Joseph (Joseph Niouky 56), MF-Jason Griffiths, MF-Chris Tierney; FW-Zack Schilawski, FW-Marko Perovic (Kenny Mansally 58).

Statistics: SHOTS: 10 (Tierney 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 4 (4 players with 1; SAVES: 5 (Reis 5); FOULS: 10 (Gibbs, Osei 2); CORNERS: 2 (Mansally, Perovic 1); OFFSIDES: 0

Real Salt Lake – GK-Nick Rimando; DF-Robbie Russell, DF-Nat Borchers, DF-Jamison Olave, DF-Chris Wingert; MF-Andy Williams, MF-Ned Grabavoy, MF-Javier Morales (Collen Warner 72), MF-Will Johnson (Jean Alexandre 61); FW-Álvaro Saborío, FW-Fabian Espíndola (Robbie Findley 46).

Statistics: SHOTS: 24 (Saborio, Williams 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 12 (3 players with 2); SAVES: 4 (Rimando 4); FOULS: 9 (Saborio 3); CORNERS: 11 (Morales 10); OFFSIDES: 5 (Espindola, Findley 2)

Referee: Kevin Stott
Referee’s Assistants: Kermit Quisenberry; Peter Balciunas
4th Official: Tyler Ploeger
Attendance: 19,101

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San Jose stifle RSL in scoreless draw

Posted on 26 June 2010 by Patrick McShane

Real Salt Lake returned from the World Cup break Friday night, stumbling at home in a disappointing 0-0 draw to the San Jose Earthquakes. It was a miserable affair for both teams as well as the fans as the match turned out to be a lackluster affair full of squandered opportunities. While RSL created the majority of the chances, one would be hard pressed to argue that San Jose didn’t deserve the point as they were clearly the more organized side.

It would be easy for one to assume that the poor result and overall play was nothing more than fallout from the extended layoff. However, RSL coach Jason Kreis felt like the layoff was not the culprit. “I don’t want to blame it on the break or anything. Our energy wasn’t good enough in first half and it got a little better in second half. I felt like we let 45 minutes slip tonight with our play in the first half and it cost us.”

Both teams fielded similar lineups to what they were using prior to the break, with a couple of notable exceptions. RSL midfielder Kyle Beckerman continued his stint on the bench as he recovers from a foot injury suffered nearly two months ago. Ned Grabavoy continuing to admirably fill the holding midfield role instead of unproven second-year player Jean Alexandre. Newly acquired midfielder Sam Cronin also saw his first start for San Jose, adding a new sense of bite and control to a midfield that seemed just a player away from being competitive.

At the outset of the match it appeared that RSL’s forward tandem of Fabian Espíndola and Alvaro Saborío would be too much for San Jose, and they continued their impressive form of creating chances for each other. As the match lingered on, this tandem became less and less effective, with Kreis pulling Saborío surprisingly early in the second half in exchange for Pablo Campos. San Jose appeared happy to sit back and rely on counterattacking opportunities, with substitute Javier Robles nearly stealing a late goal if not for a stunning save from keeper Nick Rimando.

While the fans and players have every right to be disappointed with the draw, some solace can be taken from a number of positives on the evening as Rimando continued his fantastic form, particularly with the match on the line. It was Rimando’s third consecutive clean sheet as he has now shut out opponents for 318 straight minutes, the second-longest in club history. The draw also ensured that RSL would add to their club-record undefeated streak at eight matches while bettering the team’s club-record home unbeaten streak in MLS action to 17 games. RSL will hope that next week produces better results, as they play a Friday night match against the New England Revolution before heading back on the road.

“At the end of the game, I’m patting Nick Rimando on the back and saying, ‘You just saved us two points and saved us from giving San Jose all three of them’,” stated Kreis. “I told the guys yesterday that all of the Western Conference games from here on out are hugely important. We need to be pushing other teams down and rising up.”

REAL SALT LAKE (7-3-3, 24 pts.) v. SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (5-4-3, 18 pts.)
FRIDAY, JUNE 25, 2010 – RIO TINTO STADIUM

Scoring Summary:
None

Misconduct Summary:
SJ – Ramiro Corrales (caution; Tactical Foul) 58
SJ – Jon Busch (caution; Delaying a Restart) 60
SJ – Javier Robles (caution; Reckless Tackle) 85
RSL – Pablo Campos (caution; Tactical Foul) 87

San Jose Earthquakes – GK-Jon Busch; DF-Jason Hernandez, DF-Bobby Burling, DF-Ike Opara, DF-Ramiro Corrales (Capt.); MF-Steven Beitashour, MF-Brandon McDonald, MF-Sam Cronin, MF-Bobby Convey; FW-Chris Wondolowski (Javier Robles 74), FW-Ryan Johnson (Cornell Glen 68).

Statistics: SHOTS: 14 (Wondolowski 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 8 (Corrales, Glen 2); SAVES: 1 (Busch 1); FOULS: 10 (Cronin 3); CORNERS: 5 (Convey 3); OFFSIDES: 1 (Wondolowski 1)

Real Salt Lake – GK-Nick Rimando; DF-Robbie Russell, DF-Nat Borchers (Capt.), DF-Jamison Olave, DF-Chris Wingert; MF-Andy Williams, MF-Ned Grabavoy (Collen Warner 73), MF-Javier Morales, MF-Will Johnson (Jean Alexandre 89); FW-Alvaro Saborio (Pablo Campos 60), FW-Fabian Espindola.

Statistics: SHOTS: 13 (Williams 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 1 (Johnson 1); SAVES: 8 (Rimando 8); FOULS: 13 (Espindola, Morales 3); CORNERS: 5 (Morales 5); OFFSIDES: 1 (Wingert 1)

Referee: Silviu Petrescu
Referee’s Assistants: Corey Rockwell; Greg Barkey
4th Official: Alejandro Mariscal
Weather: Partly Cloudy and 84 degrees / Attendance: 16,216

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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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RSL roar back for 4-2 win

Posted on 26 July 2009 by Patrick McShane

It was a night of fireworks on and off the pitch as Real Salt Lake roared back from a 2-0 halftime deficit to shock an upstart FC Dallas squad with a 4-2 victory. It was the first time in RSL history that the team has come back from a two goal deficit to win, and the second consecutive match were points were earned thanks to an own-goal in the 88th minute. Two goals from want away striker Yura Movsisyan combined with a Robbie Findley PK helped ease RSL to victory after looking lackluster and apathetic in the first half.

Midfielder Will Johnson was back in the lineup after missing a number of matches due to Gold Cup duty and striker Fabian Espindola started on the left after serving a one-match suspension for a red card earned against the San Jose Earthquakes. Both players were welcome additions to the squad that seems to have a revolving door of lineups recently due to injuries, suspensions, and international call-ups. With the MLS All-Star match being hosted at Rio Tinto Stadium next Wednesday, RSL were particularly keen on jump-starting their playoff hopes with a win. Unfortunately for the 18,822 fans in attendance, the first 45 minutes looked like it was destined for disappointment as an inspired Dallas squad, comprised of a number of former RSL players, counterattacked and ran all over the Salt Lake’s defense.

It was their tenacity and fight that helped Dallas take the lead after just 13 minutes when former RSL bad-boy Jeff Cunningham battled an indecisive Johnson for the ball deep in the final third. While Cunningham’s shot lacked pace, it still found a way into the net past a surprised Nick Rimando and silenced the near-capacity stadium. It was Cunningham’s 108th career goal, tying him with former teammate and current RSL coach, Jason Kreis, for third on the all-time MLS scoring list.

Rather than responding with more energy in hopes of taking back the match, RSL appeared to be in shock and continued to lose possession in the midfield. Just 8 minutes later, RSL-killer Dave van den Bergh continued his hot streak at Rio Tinto Stadium, finishing off a beautiful build up of a play between Cunningham and David Ferreira to give Dallas the 2-0 lead. While it was van den Bergh’s third career goal in Rio Tinto stadium, it was his of the season and his first for Dallas.

Fortunately for the supporters it was a tale of two halves as RSL came out on fire in the second. Yura Movsisyan, originally slated to start until he picked up an injury in training, replaced the ineffective Ned Grabavoy and immediately made his presence known. Movsisyan terrorized the Dallas backline the entire 45 minutes, running on to quick passes over the top and surprisingly finishing with calm poise. It took just 10 minutes into the half for him to break on a Javier Morales through ball and slot the ball past Ray Burse to the delight of the home crowd.

The next 20 minutes were harrowing for both squads, as Dallas began to bunker back and RSL continued to press forward. Though RSL did their fare share to put the match out of reach with their eventual goal-scoring outburst, it was actually a momentum-crushing penalty save by Rimando on Cunningham that really ignited the comeback. After earning a penalty due to Chris Wingert’s handball while in the wall on a free kick, Cunningham was visibly anxious to put Dallas back in the match as well as pass Kreis with 109 goals.

However, Rimando guessed the correct direction and dove to the left to make an inspiring grab. The crowd, as well as Kreis, erupted as one could sense the end result. It was Rimando’s second penalty save of the season in three attempts and changed the entire dynamic of the match. Noted Rimando: “It was emotional during halftime. We had a team meeting, and to see our team turn it around from giving up two goals to coming back and scoring four goals was very emotional for me, especially after making that (penalty kick) save.”

While Espindola had an inconsistent match overall, it was his crosses on the left wing throughout the second half that led to the tying penalty kick from Findley and the unexpected own goal off of Daniel Torres that gave RSL the lead for good. Movsisyan finished off the match in the dying minutes of added time with another break on goal past Torres and coolly slotted the ball to the right past Burse, ending the comeback and leaving the fans satisfied.

With the win, RSL maintained contention in the Western Conference for a playoff spot while possibly building confidence to overcome potential setbacks. As Jason Kreis noted after the match, “I think that that’s the type of game that could change our season and that will be proven by what we do next week and in the coming weeks.”

Photo Gallery

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RSL PLAYER ASSESSMENTS

Rimando – Went from goat to hero. It was shocking to see Cunningham’s first effort totally stone Rimando as it rolled to goal, but Rimando more than made up for it with his late penalty save. It was Rimando’s 13th save on 42 PK’s in his career.

Russell – Disappointing to see him go down in the first 10 minutes with a right hip flexor strain. After the match coach Jason Kreis seemed to fear a long injury layoff for Russell. If this fear is true, than RSL might want to consider bringing back recently loaned out defender David Horst as they had absolutely no defensive subs after Beltran replaced Russell.

Wingert – Horrible. Bad passes, sloppy under pressure, and not composed in the wall leading to the handball for Cunningham’ s late PK attempt. Why he got the start over Beltran is beyond me as he has been completely out of synch all season long.

Olave – Still continues to make fans nervous with his casual demeanor while under pressure, but he was easily the best defender overall for RSL. If it wasn’t for his ejections and hot temper, one could easily hear his name bantered about as an all-star snub.

Borchers – Not a great match for Nat. Though it was Johnson’s giveaway that let to the first goal, Nat didn’t appear up to the task. Fortunately for the fans performances like this from Nat don’t come around too often.

Grabavoy – Deserved to be taken off at half. While he’s performed admirably in Beckerman’s absence, this match highlighted just how important Beckerman really is. Ned was bodied off the ball all match long by the bigger van den Bergh and seemed lost on attack. He is a great sub for this team, not a starter.

Morales – More flashes of brilliance for Javi as he was just named to his first all-star match. He continues to improve from his slow start early this season and seems poised to lead RSL to the playoffs.

Johnson – Was named as a surprise replacement to injured Shalrie Joseph on the all-star squad in the middle of the match. Despite the giveaway that led to the first goal, Johnson added a bite to the midfield that has been missing from RSL for a couple of weeks.

Mathis – Didn’t stand out for the right or wrong reasons. Just put in another consistent effort.

Findley – Combined for a number of chances with Espindola early on and seemed to be comfortable burning Benitez on the right all match long. I could see RSL relying heavily on Findley over the next couple of weeks as they possibly phase out
Movsisyan due to his upcoming move overseas.

Espindola – So much skill and potential, just no killer instinct this season. I’m not sure if it’s the fact that he’s being asked to play a different role in the 4-3-3 formation than what suits his attacking style, but he has been brilliant up to the point of creating scoring opportunities.

SUBS
Beltran – Beltran should have started over Wingert. He’s been fearless over the past couple of weeks and continues to thrive in the new formation. With Russell potentially out for a while, I could see Beltran starting the rest of the season.

Movsisyan – An absolute game changer. There were questions as to whether or not he would still put forth effort as he is already slated for his move to Denmark at the close of the MLS season. However, after last night all of those questions should be put to rest as he single-handedly put RSL on his back and led them to victory.

MATCH FACTS

FC Dallas (4-9-5) vs. Real Salt Lake (6-7-5)
July 24, 2009 — Rio Tinto Stadium

Scoring Summary:
DAL — Jeff Cunningham 4 (unassisted) 13
DAL — Dave van den Bergh 1 (Jeff Cunningham 3, David Ferreira 3) 21
RSL — Yuri Movsisyan 5 (Javier Morales 5) 55
RSL — Robbie Findley 7 (penalty kick) 62
RSL — Own Goal (Daniel Torres) 88
RSL — Yura Movsisyan 6 (unassisted) 93+

FC Dallas — Ray Burse, Drew Moor, George John (Daniel Torres 46), Pablo Ricchetti, Jair Benitez, Atiba Harris, David Ferreira, Dax McCarty, Andre Rocha (Brek Shea 91+), Dave van den Bergh, Jeff Cunningham.

Real Salt Lake — Nick Rimando, Robbie Russell (Tony Beltran 10), Nat Borchers, Jamison Olave, Chris Wingert, Ned Grabavoy (Yura Movsisyan 46), Javier Morales, Will Johnson, Clint Mathis (Andy Williams 91+), Robbie Findley, Fabian Espindola.

Misconduct Summary:
RSL — Fabian Espindola (caution; Reckless Foul) 29
RSL — Nat Borchers (caution; Tactical Foul) 35
DAL — Dave van den Bergh (caution; Unsporting Behavior) 61
DAL — Ray Burse (caution; Unsporting Behavior) 62
RSL — Will Johnson (caution; Tactical Foul) 72
RSL – Jason Kreis (BENCH) (ejection; Abusive Language) 73
RSL — Jamison Olave (caution; Tactical Foul) 77
DAL — Pablo Ricchetti (caution; Reckless Tackle) 78
DAL — Drew Moor (ejection; Violent Conduct) 95+

Referee: Ricardo Salazar
Referee’s Assistants: Fabio Tovar; Frank Anderson
4th official: Tyler Ploeger
Attendance: 18,822 / Weather: Partly Cloudy -and- 93 degrees

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Fight night at the RioT ends in 1-1 draw

Posted on 05 July 2009 by Patrick McShane

It was a night of disappointment and relief for Real Salt Lake as they battled back in added time to secure a 1-1 draw against the San Jose Quakes, despite being a man down due striker Fabian Espindola’s horror backlash against San Jose’s Brandon McDonald. It was the fourth time this season that an RSL player has been ejected as well as the third time that RSL has dropped points at home.

While the draw continues RSL’s undefeated streak, the sentiment of discontent was abundant in the locker room as it was a missed opportunity to earn full points at home.

“I’m pleased with the response of the team. The second half the energy level was higher, the possession was higher and, guess what, we had a bunch of chances. And then in particular, after we got the ejection, I thought the guys responded the right way. But three points are a must at home, and we didn’t get three points, so it’s a failure.” Said coach Jason Kreis after the match.

While the second half was played at a manic and crazed pace, the first half was lifeless and dull. RSL was the only squad able to muster a shot on goal, launching a measly two attempts, with an Espindola break on goal being the only attempt of any significance. San Jose, on the other hand, had their own battles to fight in the first half as they lost two players to injuries. Former U.S. standout Bobby Convey injured his right hamstring and captain Ramiro Corrales strained his ankle with both players substituted before the half.

These early substitutions would come back to haunt San Jose as it limited their strategic options later in the match. Noted San Jose coach Frank Yallop: “The two injuries cost us in the end because we couldn’t make changes when we needed to. When some of the players in key positions were getting tired, we couldn’t bring on fresh legs to help with the workload.”

RSL seemed to come out of the gates in the second half with more energy, possibly being the brink of the go-ahead goal if not for the stellar play of keeper Joe Cannon and the San Jose backline. Granted, RSL also appeared to sabotage opportunities by losing possession deep in the final third and by delivering sloppy crosses and passes. This offensive ineptness would come back to haunt RSL in the 63rd minute when Arturo Alvarez dribbled through three RSL defenders to slot the ball home with a left foot. The 17,478 fans were stunned, as it was truly one of the only offensive efforts that San Jose demonstrated all night.

Things continued to get worse for RSL, as San Jose began to bunker and waste time with extended injury breaks. Many RSL players, including Espindola and Javier Morales took exception to this tactic, and were trying to encourage the injured players to get up or leave the pitch. This led to the first altercation between Espindola and McDonald, as it seemed McDonald took a swing at Espindola after a heated argument over San Jose’s Jason Hernandez exaggerated injury and delayed return to play. While McDonald was awarded a yellow card for his actions, one could tell things were about to boil over.

It took only one minute for the conflict to reach a climax, as Espindola collected a pass on the left wing and began to charge forward. When McDonald came running from the middle of the pitch towards Espindola, there was little doubt that things would end ugly. While McDonald did get a piece of the ball with his slide tackle, he also got a lot of Espindola, which resulted in the scissor-kick takedown that eventually led to Espindola’s departure.

Typically being a man down is a huge handicap to overcome. However, RSL seemed to play better after Espindola’s ejection, creating many dangerous chances with little-to-no counterattack from San Jose. Stand-in captain Nat Borchers agreed with this notion, strangely stating: “I didn’t have a problem with Fabian getting sent off because I felt like it injected some energy into the game and I felt like we were better. We needed to show some emotion, and him not being here did that for us.”

That emotion finally produced a result just 1 minute into added time, when RSL scored an unlikely goal off of a sloppy broken play. Defender Robbie Russell launched a ball over the top of the defense, which Morales calmly collected and then distributed to striker Yura Movsisyan. Though Movsisyan immediately lost possession while running, the ball fortuitously bounced off of San Jose defender Chris Leitch and slowly rolled into the net. The San Jose staff and players were visibly upset at the turn of play as the match end minutes later.

RSL won’t play another match of consequence for nearly two weeks when they travel to Columbus to take on the reigning MLS champs. Between then, RSL will host Mexican side Club América next Saturday in this year’s edition of the annual XanGo Cup. This match will give RSL the opportunity to tinker with lineups and continue to adjust to the loss of midfielders Will Johnson and Kyle Beckerman to the Gold Cup tournament. With the summer transfer window also opening during that time, it could be a very different looking team that takes on the Crew on July 18.

Photo Gallery

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RSL PLAYER ASSESSMENTS

Rimando – The majority of San Jose’s shots on goal came late in the match and he wasn’t really challenged all night. He was absolutely stranded on the Alvarez goal thanks to Borcher’s missed sliding challenge.

Russell – He continues to deliver consistent performances despite being played in a variety of positions. It was his long ball that led to the tying goal.

Wingert – While I think he played decent, he is still a shadow of his former self from last season. With RSL general manager Garth Lagerwey insinuating the possible departure of a key player in the coming weeks, one can’t help but feel that Wingert’s days in an RSL kit might be numbered.

Borchers – He did an okay job as captain and defensive anchor due to Olave’s surprise benching, though he isn’t quite the vocal leader that typical captain Kyle Beckerman is. I wonder how the McDonald altercation might have turned out if Beckerman was involved instead of Borchers.

Beltran – Beltran continues to grow every week as a player. While he still struggles, his hustle and energy is a great change of pace compared to other players on the team. I’m interested to see what type of player Beltran will be in a couple of years.

Grabavoy – His play has been surprising as of late as he’s really stepped up his play. I thought it was a toss-up between him and Morales for Man of the Match. He tracked back on defense to disrupt and was savvy on attack.

Morales – There was doubt as to whether or not Morales would be able to go due to an ankle injury sustained last week against Toronto. Not only did Morales play, but he also didn’t stop moving the entire match. When RSL were pressing for a late goal, Morales was constantly moving and creating chances. I thought he was flat-out brilliant.

Mathis – Continues to be the most consistent performer for RSL on the season. It will be a shame if he isn’t rewarded with an All-Star nod for his play.

Williams – He just didn’t seem comfortable in an attacking role and there seemed to be a communication issue with the other strikers. Not a noteworthy performance.

Espindola – The best way to describe Espindola’s performance prior to his ejection would be “buzz-kill.” Every time there was an offensive build up, Espindola found a way to lose possession or waste the opportunity. His ejection was well deserved despite McDonald’s physical play and if he wants to remain an integral figure for RSL he needs to get his play and emotions under control.

Movsisyan – He challenged and fought for attacking opportunities, but just couldn’t find a way to be dangerous in front of goal. It will be interesting to see how Yura’s play changes with the return of Findley.

SUBS
Olave
– Jason Kreis will say that Olave was benched for the sake of consistency, but anyone who paid attention to his comments after Olave’s ejection in the Houston match will know that his benching was a message. I can’t help but wonder if Alvarez would have made it through the defense so easily if Olave were standing in the way.

Findley – It took him a bit to warm up as this was his first minutes in nearly a month, but there wasn’t a more dangerous player on the pitch outside of Morales in the closing minutes of the match.

Cox – He seemed a little hesitant with his passes though he was active and involved.

MATCH FACTS
San Jose Earthquakes (3-8-4) vs. Real Salt Lake (5-6-5)
July 03, 2009 — Rio Tinto Stadium

Scoring Summary:
SJ — Arturo Alvarez 5 (Pablo Campos 2) 63
RSL — Own Goal (Chris Leitch) 91+

San Jose Earthquakes — Joe Cannon, Chris Leitch, Jason Hernandez, Aaron Pitchkolan, Ramiro Corrales (Michael Zaher 45), Arturo Alvarez, Brandon McDonald, Antonio Ribeiro, Bobby Convey (Shea Salinas 38), Pablo Campos (Cornell Glen 87), Ryan Johnson.

Real Salt Lake — Nick Rimando, Chris Wingert (Raphael Cox 91+), Nat Borchers, Robbie Russell, Tony Beltran (Jamison Olave 72), Ned Grabavoy, Clint Mathis, Javier Morales, Andy Williams (Robbie Findley 62), Yura Movsisyan, Fabian Espindola.

Misconduct Summary:
SJ — Pablo Campos (caution; Simulation) 13
RSL — Andy Williams (caution; Tactical Foul) 43
SJ — Shea Salinas (caution; Reckless Tackle) 47
SJ — Brandon McDonald (caution; Unsporting Behavior) 75
SJ — Jason Hernandez (caution; Lack of Respect for Game) 76
RSL — Fabian Espindola (ejection; Serious Foul Play) 77
SJ — Chris Leitch (caution; Delaying a Restart) 86
SJ — Joe Cannon (caution; Delaying a Restart) 95+

Referee: Michael Kennedy
Referee’s Assistants: Corey Rockwell; Eric Boria
4th official: Tyler Ploeger
Attendance: 17,478 / Weather: Clear -and- 80 degrees

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RSL earn disappointing draw with LA

Posted on 08 May 2009 by Patrick McShane

RSL lost their first points at home this season, drawing 2-2 with the LA Galaxy after rapid-fire goals consumed the final minutes of stoppage time.

RSL entered the match without three of their key stars, as both defender Jamison Olave and creative midfielder Javier Morales were suspended due to separate incidences against the Colorado Rapids last Saturday. Keeper Nick Rimando missed his first match of the season due to a finger injury, and was replaced by highly regarded keeper Chris Seitz.

Though the Galaxy are renowned for having an inept defense over the last couple of years, few thought that RSL could pull off a win without all three of their stars. However, it took only 34 minutes for there to be a sense of hope throughout Rio Tinto Stadium as striker Robbie Findley nodded home a diving header. Clint Mathis continued his scintillating form as he crossed the ball into Findley, giving RSL the unexpected 1-0 lead. The goal now ties Findley for the MLS lead of 5 goals for this season.

The remainder of the first half, as well as much of the second half, continued to be the same with RSL launching balls over the top to Findley and Yura Movsisyan with hopes that they could muscle the Galaxy defenders off of the ball.

Seitz makes a first half save ©ASN/Julia Fizer

Unfortunately for RSL, defenders Omar Gonzalez and Gregg Berhalter were up to the task, putting together one of their best all-around performances for the Galaxy while easily frustrating the RSL attack. With Andy Williams filling in for Morales, RSL still continued to threaten offensively with a number of close chances, but nothing to show for it.

Everything changed for both teams in the 89th minute, when RSL midfielder Will Johnson was called for what appeared to be an inadvertent handball in the box. After pleas from RSL fans and players fell on deaf ears, Landon Donovan stepped up and slammed the ball home, barely beating Seitz. The 16,155 fans fell silent, as it seemed the match was over, despite four minutes of added time still remaining. Yet, it took less than one minute to end that silence, as RSL earned a penalty of their own when substitute Fabian Espindola was knocked down in the box by Bryan Jordan.

Hoping to make amends for the penalty call minutes earlier, Johnson stepped up to take the kick. Johnson noted after the match: “I knew I needed to make up, and I wanted to put that on my shoulders…Penalties for me are all about confidence, and I don’t feel that I am short on that.” Indeed Johnson was not short on confidence when he took the penalty kick and blasted the ball into the net while Rio Tinto erupted again with celebration.

Despite the lead, it still felt like the match was still far from over. The Galaxy pressed everyone forward, pressuring the RSL backline and scrapping for every chance. That chance came right at the brink, when despite multiple attempts to clear, the ball fell fortuitously for Galaxy midfielder Mike Magee at the far left side of goal. While there were two players in the area forcing Magee to an awkward angle, he still found a way to cut the ball back and slide it into goal.

Landon Donovan was particularly proud of his team’s performance, stating: “I can’t imagine many teams would have come back and gotten something out of that after going on that roller-coaster ride, from tying the game to going down a goal and then just having the fortitude to come back and get something out of the game. We keep making this comment, but last year we would have lost that game.”

Unfortunately for RSL, there isn’t a lot of time to recover from such a disappointing display as they face another LA side – Chivas USA – on the road this coming Saturday. While they have been horrible on the road all season with three straight losses, now is the perfect opportunity to assert themselves and gain confidence for a strong run of form. Expect both Morales and Olave to be back in the lineup with Rimando still being held out for two to three more weeks due to his injury. Though it will be important for Morales to be the motor of the team on Saturday, he also needs to be particularly careful as he remains one yellow card away from serving another suspension. At the time of print there is no word as to whether defender Nat Borchers will be available after being subbed off with an apparent injury 20 minutes from time.

Expect Chivas to be fired up for their expansion rivals as they continue to run away with the Western Conference lead and look for any opportunity to remain on top. Former RSL players Atiba Harris, Carey Talley, and Alecko Eskandarian continue to produce for Chivas as they have overcome a myriad of injuries to lead the league with six victories and only one loss.

The match will kick off at 8:30 pm MT and can be seen in Utah on KUTV 2.2 (Comcast 111).

MATCH FACTS


LA Galaxy at Real Salt Lake

May 6, 2009, Rio Tinto Stadium

Scoring Summary:
RSL — Robbie Findley 5 (Clint Mathis 4) 34
LA — Landon Donovan 5 (penalty kick) 91+
RSL — Will Johnson 1 (penalty kick) 92+
LA — Mike Magee 1 (unassisted) 94+

Los Angeles Galaxy — Donovan Ricketts, Sean Franklin, Gregg Berhalter, Omar Gonzalez, Todd Dunivant, Chris Klein (Bryan Jordan 61), Dema Kovalenko, Stefani Miglioranzi (Mike Magee 76), Eddie Lewis (Alan Gordon 69), Edson Buddle, Landon Donovan.

Real Salt Lake — Chris Seitz, Tony Beltran, Chris Wingert, Nat Borchers (David Horst 69), Robbie Russell, Andy Williams (Ned Grabavoy 77), Kyle Beckerman, Clint Mathis, Will Johnson, Robbie Findley, Yura Movsisyan (Fabian Espindola 56).

Misconduct Summary:
RSL — Clint Mathis (caution; Dissent) 7

Referee: Michael Kennedy
Referee’s Assistants: Peter Balciunas; Peter Manikowski
4th official: Tyler Ploeger
Attendance: 16,155
Weather: Cloudy -and- 68 degrees

RSL PLAYER ASSESSMENTS

Seitz – Did an admirable job filling in for Rimando. Fans have been waiting a long time to finally see if Seitz can live up to the hype, and he definitely delivered. Cut out dangerous crosses into the box and nearly stopped Donovan’s pk.

Beltran – This was Tony’s best match as an RSL player. He didn’t get caught out of position once and was in the right place at the right time when he coolly stopped Donovan on a 2v2 break. A great overall performance.

Wingert – I’m so indifferent about Wingert’s performance this season. Nothing great, but nothing horrific. He possibly could have done a better job to clear the ball on Magee’s goal.

Borchers – Nat delivers game in, game out. I have a hard time believing that the last goal would have happened had he not been injured.

Russell – I really feel like Russell is one of the unheralded stars of RSL the past couple of weeks. He brings a needed veteran savvy and his versatility is unmatched.

Williams – Bomma gave exactly what everyone expected. At this stage in his career he isn’t capable of being as creative and quick on attack as he used to, but his skill and technical ability makes up for that

Beckerman – I’m trying to think of any moment during the match when I noticed Kyle’s performance and… Yup, I’ve got nothing.

Mathis – Seemed winded later on in the match, as he’s not used to playing a full 90’ this season. Have to give him credit for the corner kick assist.

Johnson – Hard to blame Will for the handball and you have to respect his desire to take the penalty kick on the opposite end. Overall he just seemed a bit off with his passing and made some curious choices (rocketing a shot from 30 yards out over the bar while the attack is still building seems questionable).

Findley – Prior to the season I thought Findley was only viable as a “super sub” player. This season he has proven me wrong and has come out on fire, remaining our only consistent and dangerous striker.

Movsisyan – If he had looked up on his break late in the second half, he might have noticed Johnson open on the left. But that’s just not Movsisyan’s way as his head is always down on attack. He desperately needs to find the fire he possessed late last season.

SUBS
Espindola – I’m a huge Espindola fan, but I really question this substitution. Fabi had just joined the team over the weekend and was reportedly not match fit. Even if he is familiar with RSL from his first time here, why would Kreis put him out there to play a midfield role in a 4-5-1 formation with Cox and Grabavoy still on the bench? Thankfully he drew the foul for the late pk.

Horst – While he is quickly gaining an unfavorable reputation among RSL fans, I thought Horst played decent and above expectations (though my expectations are pretty low).

Grabavoy – Williams was winded and someone had to come on. Cox and Alexandre are unproven rookies and Escalada seemed redundant since RSL was bunkering back on D. Respectable outing, but nothing special.

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Beckham brace bends Galaxy back from the brink

Posted on 05 May 2008 by Patrick McShane

Morales spins Becks right round, baby right round ©ASN/Julia Fizer

The L.A. Galaxy came back from being down by two goals to tie Real Salt Lake 2-2, thanks in large part to David Beckham’s stunning performance.

RSL entered Saturday’s match looking to continue their solid performance at home, having just defeated San Jose 4-0 in the U.S. Open Cup play-in match on Wednesday. After 20 minutes it looked as though RSL would continue to score goals in bunches at home, only to see both the lead and their control of the match erode in a span of five minutes thanks to two bending David Beckham goals.

{democracy}


Galaxy fans vote for your team’s Star of the Match here.

Rookie Tony Beltran got his first MLS start in place of injured and under-performing Ian Joy as RSL continue to retool and adapt their back line. This change appeared to pay off on the offensive side, as RSL were particularly aggressive on the wings, pushing the ball forward for much of the match. This wing play combined with decent control and possession in the middle is what allowed RSL to finally break the Galaxy’s defense in the 6th minute.

After just missing on a chance to open his account two minutes earlier, Fabian Espindola took advantage on his second opportunity. Collecting a beautifully driven cross from Javier Morales on the far right wing, Espindola slotted the ball into the lower right corner of the net past a diving Steve Cronin.

Moment later the situation appeared to worsen for the Galaxy when forward Edson Buddle came up lame, only to be replaced by Alan Gordon. This early substitution seemed to cause even more confusion to an already unstable Galaxy lineup as they persistently gave the ball away in the middle of the pitch and seemed unorganized on the attack with numerous errant passes.

RSL struck again in the 18th minute when Morales placed the perfect cross into the box to a wide-open Kenny Deuchar for a sublime header placed perfectly inside the right corner of goal. The most Cronin could do was push the ball inside the net as Deuchar ran off to celebrate his first goal at home for RSL. The assist from Morales tied him with none other than David Beckham for the top assist count in the MLS with four.

Despite their lead, RSL continued to push forward with even their central defenders, Nat Borchers and Jamison Olave, getting involved with offensive breaks. This effort almost paid off in the 24th minute when Olave nearly scored on a corner kick from Andy Williams, only to head the ball over the goal.

The momentum changed in the 36th minute, however, when RSL found themselves in shock due to two fantastic goals courtesy of David Beckham. Trying to pass out of the back instead of clear, Beltran lost possession of the ball, which eventually landed at the feet of a wide-open Beckham on the right wing. Not wasting an obvious opportunity, Beckham set himself and placed a perfect, bending shot into the top-left corner of goal past a diving Nick Rimando.

Minutes later the Galaxy earned a free kick at the top of the box in ideal territory for one of Beckham’s infamous shots. Again, Beckham did not disappoint as he curled the free kick into the goal. The capacity crowd of 25,500 seemed to be both disappointed with evaporated lead as well as excited that they were getting what they paid for from Beckham.

The Galaxy seemed to be energized by equalizing the score, though RSL had a tremendous opportunity to take the lead in the 43rd minute. Kyle Beckerman lost and confused Beckham with a series of stepovers as he drove into the box, sending a low pass for Deuchar to slam home. However, the goal was called back as Deuchar was ruled offside.

The entire second half was an intense match of back and forth, with both teams appearing to be on the verge of either blowing the game wide open or crumbling in defeat. Despite this open play, both teams really only produced a couple of dangerous chances. Morales and Williams both had opportunities off of free kicks that were sent high and wide of goal, while Beckham took a free kick quickly and sent a beautiful cross in for a Landon Donovan header that was barely tipped to the side by Rimando.

Despite the continued pressure by both teams, little excitement occurred in the final minutes of the match, outside of Olave & Gordon engaging in a pushing match in the corner by RSL’s goal. RSL had to be disappointed with the draw, especially since it appeared that they had control of the match early on. Deuchar summed it up perfectly when he noted: “We’ve got to be more ruthless. We’ve got to go for the jugular and finish them off.”

RSL will get a chance for redemption next Saturday when they take on Western Conference leaders FC Dallas at home.

AT A GLANCE

Scoring Summary:
RSL — Fabian Espíndola 2 (Javier Morales 3) 6
RSL — Kenny Deuchar 2 (Javier Morales 4) 18
LA — David Beckham 2 (Landon Donovan 3, Alan Gordon 3) 36
LA — David Beckham 3 (unassisted) 40

Los Angeles Galaxy — Steve Cronin, Chris Klein, Sean Franklin, Greg Vanney, Troy Roberts, David Beckham, Joe Franchino, Brandon McDonald, Mike Randolph, Edson Buddle (Alan Gordon 12), Landon Donovan.

Real Salt Lake — Nick Rimando, Tony Beltran (Robbie Findley 74), Nat Borchers, Jamison Olave, Chris Wingert, Andy Williams (Matias Cordoba 90), Dema Kovalenko, Javier Morales, Kyle Beckerman, Kenny Deuchar, Fabian Espindola (Yura Movsisyan 79).

Misconduct Summary:
LA — Brandon McDonald (caution; Reckless Foul) 66
LA — Alan Gordon (caution; Professional Foul) 89
RSL — Jamison Olave (caution; Professional Foul) 89

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RSL Demolish Weary United

Posted on 13 April 2008 by Patrick McShane

RSL made it three straight wins at home against D.C. United Saturday as they defeated the winners of last year’s Supporters’ Shield 4-0. Kyle Beckerman celebrated his first captaincy of the season by scoring twice while Dema Kovalenko assisted on two goals as RSL claimed it’s largest margin of victory in team history.

{democracy:4}

One would expect United to be weary after their mid-week loss to Pachuca in the CONCACAF Champions’ Cup. Add travel, adapting to Salt Lake City’s elevation, and an unforgiving plastic pitch to the equation and United were in for an uphill battle. In response to their busy week, United rested many of their starters, including big off-season acquisition Marcelo Gallardo. Unfortunately, it was apparent from the beginning that United could have used some of those players as they were down after the 12th minute.Working with Kovalenko on a combination of passes, Beckerman took a sublime through ball and launches a low shot to the bottom right corner of goal.

Chris Wingert celebrates the win (c) Julia Fizer

Despite losing the early lead, United were the aggressors for much of the first half, working both wings for crosses into RSL’s box only to be cleared or collected.United immediately responded, pressuring RSL’s defense with two dangerous crosses. However, it was RSL who struck again only seven minutes later when Kovalenko assisted Fabian Espindola on a deep pass. What initially looked like a harmless lob by Kovalenko into United’s final third soon turned to disaster as Espindola calmly collected off the bounce and slotted the ball past Jose Carvallo, despite making contact with his left hand.

For the remainder of the half United continued to create dangerous crosses, with Devon McTavish looking particularly keen, only to find no one on the receiving end. In the meantime, RSL racked up suspicious fouls with two calls each going against Nathan Sturgis and Kenny Deuchar. Deuchar, who spent the last four seasons with Scottish Premier side Gretna, seemed particularly confused by the calls. “I was the one that won the ball… I’ve clearly headed the ball and for some reason (the referee) is giving free kicks. The way I play is honest and I’m always going for the ball… I don’t try to commit fouls.” Deuchar received a yellow card minutes later for dissent.

The second half appeared to be more of the same, just without opportunities to finish as both Espindola and Kovalenko continued to torch United’s left back. In the 51st minute Deuchar produced his best chance of the match when he broke on a pass just beyond midfield and was one-on-one with Carvallo. However, the chance was soon wasted as the Scotsman blasted his opportunity wide left of the goal. Minutes later Javier Morales almost scored his first goal of the season. Taking a free kick from nearly 30 yards out, the Argentine midfielder drove the shot just past the outstretched hands of Carvallo only to see the ball bounce off the right post.

Whereas RSL seemed content with the scoreline near the end of the first half, it was apparent their attitude had changed as RSL continued to torment United’s backline. Coach Jason Kreis brought on Robbie Findley in the 70th minute for a winded Espindola to keep RSL’s attack fresh. This tactic paid off eight minutes later when Findley set up Beckerman’s second goal of the match. Collecting a header from defender Nat Borchers at the top of the box, Findley coolly passed back to an attacking Beckerman who rocketed a shot into the back of the net. Findley capped off his super-sub performance in the 87th minute when fought off United defender Gonzalo Peralta on a horrible header back to Carvallo and headed home the fourth goal of the match.

Smiles were all around as RSL celebrated their first win of the season after the final whistle blew. United, drawing to conclusion a long week of travel and disappointment, quietly walked to their locker room. One would assume that everyone involved with RSL would have been ecstatic with the win, though Coach Kreis gave a different impression. “For me the soccer wasn’t quite as good as I thought it has been the last two games on our side. So scoring the goals obviously makes things look brighter, but I think there are some things to take away from tonight’s game as well.”

RSL looks to build upon this win and take to heart some of those areas of continued improvement when they visit Toronto next Saturday. For the time being, however, RSL is going to enjoy their first emphatic win of this young MLS season and let Toronto doing the worrying. As Deuchar noted: “I don’t think Toronto will be looking forward to playing us now.”
McTavish shadows Beckerman (c) Julia Fizer

Stat Sheet

D.C. United (1-2-0) vs. Real Salt Lake (1-1-1)
April 12, 2008 — Rice-Eccles Stadium

Scoring Summary:
RSL — Kyle Beckerman 1 (Dema Kovalenko 1) 12
RSL — Fabian Espindola 1 (Dema Kovalenko 2) 19
RSL — Kyle Beckerman 2 (Nat Borchers 1, Robbie Findley 1) 78
RSL — Robbie Findley 1 (unassisted) 87

D.C. United — Jose Carvallo, Bryan Namoff, Gonzalo Peralta, Domenic Mediate, Devon McTavish, Rod Dyachenko, Clyde Simms, Marc Burch (Santino Quaranta 46), Fred, Luciano Emilio (Franco Niell 62), Jaime Moreno (Dan Stratford 80).

Substitutes Not Used: Marcelo Gallardo, Quavas Kirk, Gonzalo Martinez, Zach Wells

Real Salt Lake — Nick Rimando, Chris Wingert, Nat Borchers, Matias Mantilla, Ian Joy (Tony Beltran 83), Dema Kovalenko, Javier Morales (Andy Williams 63), Nathan Sturgis, Kyle Beckerman, Kenny Deuchar, Fabian Espindola (Robbie Findley 70).

Substitutes Not Used: Yura Movsisyan, Jamison Olave, Chris Seitz, Carey Talley

Misconduct Summary:
RSL — Kenny Deuchar (caution; Dissent) 30
DC — Rod Dyachenko (caution; Tackle from Behind) 48
DC — Clyde Simms (caution; Tackle from Behind) 58

referee: Richard Heron
Referee’s Assistants: Frank Anderson; Emiliano Monje
4th official: Ramon Hernandez
time of game: 1:46
attendance: 13,193
weather: Clear -and- 60 degrees

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