Tag Archive | "Findley"

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RSL dismantle DC 3-1

Posted on 01 August 2010 by Patrick McShane

Real Salt Lake got back to winning Saturday night as they defeated struggling DC United 3-0 to extend their undefeated run at home to 21 games. Alvaro Saborío broke the deadlock just 13 minutes into the match and Robbie Findley scored an insurance goal late, before super-sub Nelson Gonzalez capped off the evening with a stunning chip in stoppage time. With the result RSL put to close an unimpressive month of July and look to the next couple of weeks as they continue to press league-leading LA Galaxy for the Supporters’ Shield.

RSL started off the match with a similar lineup to those that have produced lackluster results over the past couple of weeks, with the exception of Ned Grabavoy starting on the wing in place of veteran Andy Williams. Captain Kyle Beckerman continued his comeback from a foot injury, logging the full 90 minutes while appearing to be more comfortable on the ball.

DC United, on the other hand, entered the match with a pair of fresh faces in their lineup with recent acquisitions Branko Boskovic and Pablo Hernandez both making starting appearances. While these players added a fresh dynamic to the attack, particularly with the assistance of rookie standout Andy Najar, it was also apparent that the team is still trying to figure each other out, as they seemed passive on attack and struggled to link up in the final third.

Despite DC’s commitment to controlling the ball in the middle of the pitch, they continued to fall prey to quick RSL counterattacks, leading to RSL’s first goal. While on the break Findley was able to switch the ball quickly to the other side of the field, finding Grabavoy in perfect position just outside of the box. Though it appeared that it was close to being offside, Gabavoy played a perfect through ball to Saborío for a low rocket that blasted between the legs of keeper Troy Perkins. With the early goal RSL appeared to be in cruise control as DC hasn’t demonstrated much fight all season and the match was definitely going to open up more.

“Everybody knows it’s important, and oftentimes that first goal can be what makes or breaks the game for you,” noted RSL coach Jason Kreis. “It changes tactics. We have had a lot of teams that come in lately and sit. If we can’t score that first goal, then they are content to do that. Once you score that goal, they’ve got to open up. As we’ve seen before, we’re pretty dangerous when teams open up against us.”

Surprisingly the second half produced a much better reaction from DC, with substitutes Stephen King and Chris Pontius having an immediate impact on the speed and skill of their attack. This change almost paid immediate dividends as RSL appeared to be surprised by their sudden attacking prowess and often seemed confused in the back. This struggle and confusion made Findley’s late goal even more important, as it felt as if the match could swing the visitors way at any moment. Playing another quick counter, Williams found Findley completely open on the left side for a free run at Perkins, requiring just a simple low blast to the right to take a deflection and skip just inside the right post and put the match well out of reach.

The remaining 10 minutes was an open affair with RSL appearing conflicted between wasting time and taking advantage of the acres of open space they were given as DC flooded players forward. Earning his first time on the pitch since May 22, Gonzalez came on for the final five minutes of the match and instantly resolved RSL’s conflicting tactics, making an amazing run off of another Williams pass and placing a perfect chip over Perkins as he was trying to close down the run.

While the loss continues DC’s surprisingly poor form, they hope that the new additions will begin to gel as they still remain in the playoff hunt in the Eastern Conference. RSL are in a very different situation, as they now stand only 6 points behind the LA Galaxy and hope to be back on a winning track. Beginning with next weeks match against the Kansas City Wizards, RSL will also start the busy part of the season, as they will play four matches in 11 days, toped off with the club’s first Champions League match at home against Arabe Unido. RSL, and Kreis in particular, have to be pleased with this result going in to this busy stretch as they hope to have a variety of players produce in the critical month of August.

REAL SALT LAKE (10-4-4, 34 pts.) v. D.C. UNITED (3-12-3, 12 pts.)
SATURDAY, JULY 31, 2010 – RIO TINTO STADIUM

Scoring Summary:
RSL — Alvaro Saborio 8 (Ned Grabavoy 1, Robbie Findley 3) 13
RSL — Robbie Findley 4 (Andy Williams 4) 79
RSL — Nelson Gonzalez 1 (Andy Williams 5) 94+

Misconduct Summary:
DC — Carey Talley (caution; Dissent) 17
DC — Branko Boskovic (caution; Dissent) 17
RSL — Chris Wingert (caution; Dissent) 58
DC — Andy Najar (caution; Dissent) 67

D.C. United — Troy Perkins, Devon McTavish (Jaime Moreno 78), Julius James, Carey Talley, Marc Burch, Andy Najar, Branko Boskovic, Clyde Simms (Stephen King 44), Santino Quaranta, Danny Allsopp (Chris Pontius 57), Pablo Hernandez.

Real Salt Lake — Nick Rimando, Robbie Russell, Nat Borchers, Jamison Olave, Chris Wingert, Ned Grabavoy (Nelson Gonzalez 88), Kyle Beckerman, Javier Morales (Andy Williams 71), Will Johnson, Robbie Findley, Alvaro Saborio (Jean Alexandre 82).

Referee: Ramon Hernandez
Referee’s Assistants: Anthony Vasoli; Jeff Hosking
4th Official: Yader Reyes
Attendance: 17,719 / Weather: Cloudy-and-87-degrees

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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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RSL rock Rapids for MLS Playoff berth, Rocky Mountain Cup

Posted on 25 October 2009 by Patrick McShane

Just a week ago it seemed as if RSL’s hope for a second consecutive playoff appearance appeared out of reach. They had just suffered a crushing 1-0 defeat on the road against Toronto FC and were heading home to face Rocky Mountain rivals, Colorado Rapids, in a must-win match. And yet, everything somehow came together Saturday night as RSL routed Colorado 3-0, in a one-sided, dominant affair. Coupled with Toronto’s breakdown against New York , D.C. United’s late draw against Kansas City, and Seattle victory over Dallas, RSL now find themselves as the 3rd or 4th seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Needing at least a two-goal victory to claim the rivalry-based Rocky Mountain Cup, RSL knew that they had to be the aggressors from the opening whistle. It took RSL just 15 minutes to get on the scoring sheet after a bright offensive start to the match. After a close attempt on a free kick outside of the box, Andy Williams collected the ball and placed a perfect cross into the box to Fabian Espindola. Rather than challenge Colorado keeper Preston Burpo, Espindola chipped the ball back in front of goal for Robbie Findley to head home. The 18,675 fans in attendance erupted as their playoff hopes seemed revitalized due to some keen watching of the other crucial matches taking place simultaneously.

Though many felt optimism after the opening goal, the lead felt tenuous as both teams were chippy and physical in their play. Rather than buckle under surmounting pressure as they have over recent weeks, RSL responded with a second goal in the 35th minute as Williams again found a wide-open Findley with a pass over the top. Findley still had to some work to do with a sublime chip over Burpo for a casual left footed goal. Colorado seemed deflated entering half time and continued that mentality into the second half as they struggled to break down an energized RSL backline. Substitute Yura Movsisyan added an insurance goal in the 85th minute on a dazzling counter-attack, leaving the fans and team to celebrate another season series victory over Colorado as well as the hope of a playoff appearance.

While the victory and their aggressive play was crucial, RSL’s biggest victory of the evening came two hours after their match against Colorado, when Seattle Sounders defeated FC Dallas 2-1 at home. With the victory RSL is guaranteed a playoff spot as they now await the result of the New England/Columbus match this afternoon to determine their seeding and eventual opponent. Colorado will also be closely watching, as their playoff dreams rest on a New England defeat. Playoff pairings will be announced later this evening with RSL potentially facing reigning MLS Cup champion and Supporter’s Shield winning Columbus Crew or the enigmatic Chicago Fire at home next week. In the meantime, however, RSL will savor an impressive victory and a sweet ending to a tumultuous season.

Added coach Jason Kreis after the match: “We take satisfaction, we’re proud of this match. We can hold our heads high about coming out of this match and what we’ve done, and what we’ve done at home this season. It’s a real accomplishment.”

PLAYER ASSESSMENTS:

Rimando – While the offense for RSL was clicking, Rimando kept them in the match throughout the first half with a number of stellar saves. He’s been “Mr. Consistency” for RSL all season long.

Wingert – Played within the flow of the match and didn’t try to do too much. This is probably the best I’ve seen Wingert perform in over two months.

Borchers & Olave– After being announced as the team MVP and Defensive Player of the Year respectively, Borchers partnered with Olave to lead their best overall performance of the year. Both players silenced Conor Casey & Omar Cummings with physical, yet composed play. If they keep this impressive play up throughout the playoffs, RSL could be a dangerous team.

Beltran – I started out the year indifferent towards Tony, and have now ended the year a big fan. His defensive positioning and overall energy has improved throughout the year and he is showing signs of growth. Having just celebrated his 22nd birthday, Beltran still has a number of years ahead of him to have an impact in the league.

Williams – Fans have been clamoring for Williams to replace Mathis in the lineup for weeks now, and this time it paid dividends. Williams logged two assists (which he again predicted earlier this week on his Facebook page) and was the driving force on offense.

Johnson – While I’ve been critical of Johnson’s tangible results this season, his energy and work on the pitch are unmatched. Last night was the perfect example of how Johnson can influence a match without a earning a goal or assist.

Beckerman – I always laugh when I think how I used to hate Kyle Beckerman when he was on the opposing team in this rivalry. Now, I can’t imagine an RSL team without their all-around leader and organizer

Morales – Still struggling a bit in terms of offensive, but it’s been his defensive commitment in recent weeks that’s been most notable.

Espindola – Rather than disappoint fans with missed chances this week, Espy decided to be the provider of the first goal. I’ve always liked a two-man strike core with him and Findley and hope that coach Kreis continues this formation into the playoffs.

Findley – MOTM honors in my book. 12 goals for the season, 1st in goals for RSL, and third place in the MLS Golden Boot race. What an incredible season for Findley after many thought he was a one-trick pony just a season ago.

SUBS
Grabavoy
– I was pretty underwhelmed when the sub was made as I felt it decreased our offensive prowess. In the end, however, it was a sly substitution as it gave us more possession in the middle of the pitch and helped control Colorado’s offensive pressure.

Movsisyan – Despite the drama that came along with Yura’s pending departure, I for one can’t imagine a player with more game changing potential. I’m excited to see him produce more “Movsisyan Magic” in the playoffs.

Mathis – Please, Jason Kreis. Please keep Mathis as a late sub. His performance over the final 18+ minutes was the best I’ve seen Mathis play in recent weeks.

MATCH Facts

Colorado Rapids (10-10-10) vs. Real Salt Lake (11-12-7)
October 24, 2009 — Rio Tinto Stadium

Scoring Summary:
RSL — Robbie Findley 11 (Fabian Espíndola 3, Andy Williams 5) 15
RSL — Robbie Findley 12 (Andy Williams 6) 33
RSL — Yura Movsisyan 8 (Javier Morales 5) 85

Colorado Rapids — Preston Burpo, Drew Moor, Julien Baudet, Cory Gibbs (Pat Noonan 69), Jordan Harvey (Facundo Diz 87), Kosuke Kimura, Mehdi Ballouchy, Pablo Mastroeni, Nick LaBrocca, Conor Casey, Omar Cummings.

Real Salt Lake — Nick Rimando, Chris Wingert, Nat Borchers, Jamison Olave, Tony Beltran, Andy Williams (Ned Grabavoy 62), Kyle Beckerman, Javier Morales, Will Johnson, Robbie Findley (Yura Movsisyan 62), Fabian Espíndola (Clint Mathis 72).

Misconduct Summary:
COL — Julien Baudet (caution; Tactical Foul) 18
RSL — Andy Williams (caution; Reckless Tackle) 25
RSL — Nat Borchers (caution; Reckless Tackle) 35
COL — Conor Casey (caution; Reckless Foul) 39
RSL — Kyle Beckerman (caution; Reckless Foul) 58
RSL — Yura Movsisyan (caution; Shirt Removal) 86

Referee: Jorge Gonzalez
Referee’s Assistants: Chris Strickland; Greg Boles
4th official: Ramon Hernandez
Attendance: 18,675/ Weather: Cloudy -and- 53 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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D.C. downed by RSL

Posted on 12 April 2009 by Patrick McShane

Morales got the game winner 10 minutes from time

Real Salt Lake continued their home dominance Saturday, beating D.C. United for their second win of the season and their first back-to-back win in over a year and a half. After falling behind in the 39th by way of a Luciano Emilio header, RSL fought and clawed their way back into the match, outshooting United 15-6 on the evening, to control the second half and earn a well-deserved victory.

Expectations were high for RSL as they were riding a wave of euphoria from their impressive victory over reigning MLS Cup Champion Columbus Crew. For the first 30 minutes RSL lived up to those expectations, creating repeated attacking chances while nullifying United’s opportunities. However, all of that promise quickly went away when Emilio bodied defender Nat Borchers out of the way for a header after rookie sensation Chris Pontius placed the perfect ball into the box. Keeper Nick Rimando didn’t stand a chance at stopping the shot as it rolled into the far left corner of goal.

Instead of self-destructing and letting United back into the match, RSL matched last week’s effort and scored the equalizer less than two minutes later. Throwing the ball in on the left, midfielder Will Johnson collected the ball back from Robbie Findley and launched a perfect cross into the box for an onrushing Jamison Olave. United keeper Louis Crayton was able to get a hand on the ball, but Olave’s header was too powerful and trickled into the net.

RSL continued their high-flying attack throughout the second half, but had little to show in terms of goals. Findley continued his scintillating form from the previous week, running all over the United defense while creating chances for himself and striking partner Yura Movsisyan. Both strikers, along with midfielder Kyle Beckerman, almost scored in the second half with only the crossbar and great goalkeeping by Crayton standing in their way.

Ten minutes from time, all fears were eased when RSL’s attacking prowess finally came to fruition. Quickly passing the ball around on attack, Johnson found Beckerman unmarked 30 yards out from goal. While driving forward, Beckerman placed a heavy pass to Findley who softly knocked the ball back to an open Javier Morales to slam past the keeper. The 11,793 rain-soaked fans finally had their positive result and RSL finally had their back-to-back victory.

Said coach Jason Kreis after the match: “It’s huge. We set it out for them at the beginning of the season, and I reminded them again yesterday that it was an opportunity to win two games in a row, which we didn’t do all of last year. I think the guys are very happy that they have won two in a row, and now they want three.” RSL will look to earn their third win next week as they face New York Red Bulls in a rematch of last year’s the Western Conference finals.

RSL PLAYER RATINGS

After last week’s debacle over Tony Beltran’s 3.5 rating, I’ve decided this time to use a 1-5 scale, with 1 = terrible, 2 = below average, 3 = average, 4 = above average, and 5 = outstanding.

MAN OF THE MATCH: Jamison Olave – 5
It was just another blue-collar day at the office for Olave. Not only did he score the tying goal, but he also tormented United’s strikers all afternoon with physical, yet savvy, force.

Rimando: 3 – Another week of little-to-no activity for Nick. However, I’m sure RSL supporters wouldn’t have it any other way after past RSL squads have been apt to bleed goals.

Beltran: -7 (just kidding!): 2 – Despite last week’s disagreement, Beltran again did little to impress the fans, Jason Kreis, or me. There’s a reason he was subbed off so early for an unproven rookie (Beltran looked pretty lonely at the end of the bench once he was subbed out). He seemed lost when marking defensively and clueless on attack.

Borchers: 2.5 – While he couldn’t muscle Emilio out of the way for the opening goal, he still held down the backline while Olave pushed forward.

Wingert: 3 – Played his best soccer of the season when he moved his natural right side in the 60th minute. Nothing spectacular, but nothing detrimental.

Mathis: 3.5 – I am firmly seated on the “2009 Mathis bandwagon.” He did a great job instigating the attack early on and maintained possession in the second half. That said; it was an appropriate substitution by Kreis to put Grabavoy on when Mathis seemed winded.

Beckerman: 4 – Another week of great two-way play by the “dreaded one.” It’s unfortunate that his blast in the second half ricocheted off the bar, as it would have challenged for goal of the year.

Morales: 5 – Finally shook off the rust from the first two matches and delivered an all-around performance that the fans demanded. He was unlucky to have not earned an assist in the first half as he had two dangerous crosses into the box. While delivering the go-ahead goal was impressive, it was his tracking back on defense to stop a 2-on-2 break that really stood out to me. Welcome back, Javi.

Johnson: 4 – Notched his first points of the season with the assist to Olave and never stopped moving. Only a McTavish body-check late in the match slowed him down.

Findley: 5 – Followed up last week’s breakout performance with two assists and a relentless effort on attack. The former “super-sub” is starting show signs of being a star.

Movsisyan: 3.5 – Nobody deserved a goal more than Movsisyan, and he almost earned it when he headed a cross from Wingert on goal. Unfortunately, Crayton made a spectacular save and Movsisyan must wait another week to open his tally for the season. His positioning and strength is a great compliment to Findley’s speed

SUBS:
Cox: 3.5 – Cox delivered the surprise performance of the night after subbing on for an ineffective Beltran. He pushed the ball on attack and created a sense of excitement every time he touched the ball. His rating would have been higher had he played longer.
Grabavoy: 3 – Another midfielder cut from the Johnson/Beckerman mold. He didn’t stop moving and fought for every possession.
Williams: N/A – Came on for garbage time while Rimando was killing the clock.

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MATCH FACTS

DC United at Real Salt Lake, April 11, 2009

Scoring Summary:
DC — Luciano Emilio 3 (Chris Pontius 1, Fred 1) 38?
RSL — Jamison Olave 1 (Will Johnson 1, Robbie Findley 1) 40
RSL — Javier Morales 1 (Robbie Findley 2, Kyle Beckerman 1) 80

D.C. United — Louis Crayton, Bryan Namoff, Dejan Jakovic, Marc Burch, Fred (Devon McTavish 69), Christian Gomez (Francis Doe 76), Andrew Jacobson, Clyde Simms, Rodney Wallace (Santino Quaranta 82), Chris Pontius, Luciano Emilio.

Real Salt Lake — Nick Rimando, Tony Beltran (Raphael Cox 59), Nat Borchers, Jamison Olave, Chris Wingert, Clint Mathis (Ned Grabavoy 74), Kyle Beckerman, Javier Morales, Will Johnson, Robbie Findley (Andy Williams 89), Yura Movsisyan.

Misconduct Summary:
RSL — Javier Morales (caution; Unsporting Behavior) 15
RSL — Chris Wingert (caution; Tactical Foul) 25
RSL — Nat Borchers (caution; Tactical Foul) 35
DC — Christian Gomez (caution; Dissent) 39
DC — Marc Burch (caution; Tactical Foul) 75
DC — Devon McTavish (caution; Reckless Foul) 91+

Referee: Kevin Stott
Referee’s Assistants: Philippe Briere; Peter Balciunas
4th official: Tyler Ploeger
Attendance: 11,793
Weather: Cloudy -and- 53 degrees

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RSL kick the Crew

Posted on 03 April 2009 by Patrick McShane

RSL rolled to an impressive victory in their home opener Thursday night, easily dispatching of the Columbus Crew. Robbie Findley didn’t let the cold weather and rain ruin his best performance for the club as he put home two goals in the first half as well as a third early in the second to earn the first hat-trick in RSL club history.

Skip right to the player ratings or the photo gallery.

It took less than two minutes for RSL to get on the board as Findley casually scored on a rebound shot from a Will Johnson free kick. It appeared the Columbus keeper Will Hesmer was caught by surprise when Johnson slammed the ball at goal from over 35 yards out, barely knocking the ball down to a wide-open Findley to roll home. The 11,806 brave enough to come out in the storm erupted with joy, as it seemed like all of the concerns from the previous week had been remedied.

However, all of that jubilation turned to doubt just 20 minutes later when Columbus took advantage of sloppy defending on a short corner to free Columbus striker Jason Garey for an easy tap-in. Fortunately for RSL, Hesmer made another shocking error to gift RSL the lead at half. Having just collected a back pass under no pressure from Brian Carroll, Hesmer curelessly kicked the ball into an unknowing Findley, who quickly came to life and drove the ball around Hesmer for the easiest goal of the night.

Any question as to if Columbus would come out with fire in the second half was quickly answered as RSL continued to maintain sustained attacks against a confused Crew defense. Findley finished off his hat-trick in the 62nd minute after Yura Movsisyan collected a long pass from keeper Nick Rimando and lifted a beautiful cross back in front of goal for a leaping Findley to put home.

It was all she wrote just five minutes later, when captain Kyle Beckerman slammed the final nail from a Clint Mathis corner kick. It was Beckerman’s first goal in the last 25 matches and a well-deserved reward for hustling and organizing RSL’s midfield all night.

Columbus will have little time to recover as they fly to Los Angeles to take on an undefeated Chivas USA squad this coming Sunday. In the meantime, RSL will take pride in coming back from a dreadful opening-week performance and hope to gain momentum for their next match at home against DC United next week

RSL PLAYER RATINGS
On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being best.

MAN OF THE MATCH: Robbie Findley – 10
Is there any question? Findley played his best all-around match as an RSL player, earning the first hat-trick in club history as well as his first multiple-goal match since his debut for the club. He ran all over the crew defense while showing a surprising soft touch and offensive guile.

Rimando: 7– The goal against wasn’t really his fault and the majority of the late saves were made by his teammates, but Rimando continued to show his value to this team without having to be the savior.

Beltran: 3.5 4.5– While Beltran gave some flashes of offensive brilliance early on, he was burned on the left wing all night long by an injured Robbie Rogers and Schelotto. It’s fortunate the he didn’t cost the team more goals like he did in Seattle.

Olave: 8.5 – So cool and calm sometimes that it makes me anxious (Schelotto nearly robbing him for an open goal, anyone?) Despite that, there’s no doubt that he is crucial for this team if they want to contain star opposing players.

Borchers: 7.5 – Unheralded at times, Borchers had a number of crucial clearances in the first half and then finished up the match with all-around composure as Columbus pushed forward. It was his missed header that gifted Columbus their only goal.

Wingert: 6 – ”WINGS!” – as my co-writer likes to call him – has been uncharacteristically shaky in the first two matches this season. After an off-season featuring a contract extension and a USMNT call-up, much more is expected of him.

Johnson: 8 – A much better week for Johnson after he shook off his scattered play from the Seattle match and coolly organized a number of decent attacks. He spent a lot of time on the right side (his preferred position) this week, which may be a positive sign of things to come.

Mathis: 8 – Despite some sloppy passes and plays early on, Mathis never stopped hustling and working defensively. He deservedly earned two assists on the final two goals and continues his surprise return to form.

Beckerman: 9 – Beckerman would have been the MOTM if Findley hadn’t been on the top of his game. After seeming confused and overwhelmed in Seattle, Beckerman came out with fire on Thursday and never stopped working. Can he produce like this every week?

Morales: 7 – Continued his recent trend of drifting in and out of matches. Could the pressure of last season’s success be affecting him?

Movsisyan: 8 – Deserved a goal for all of his hard work and combination play without Findley throughout the night. Still needs to finish better, though one can’t argue with the beautiful pass to Findley for the hat-trick – only his 2nd assist in his entire MLS career.

SUBS:
Williams: 5 – Came in after the match was already well in control.
Grabavoy: 7 – Great energy and never stopping fighting, nearly earning an assist with a beautiful pass to Movsisyan.
Alexandre: N/A – Not much you can say in limited minutes.

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MATCH FACTS

Scoring Summary:
RSL — Robbie Findley 1 (unassisted) 2
CLB — Jason Garey 1 (unassisted) 22
RSL — Robbie Findley 2 (unassisted) 29
RSL — Robbie Findley 3 (Yura Movsisyan 1, Clint Mathis 1) 62
RSL — Kyle Beckerman 1 (Clint Mathis 2) 67

Liineups:

Columbus Crew — William Hesmer, Jed Zayner (Andy Iro 85), Chad Marshall, Danny O’Rourke, Gino Padula (Steven Lenhart 63), Eddie Gaven, Brian Carroll, Emmanuel Ekpo, Robbie Rogers (Alejandro Moreno 63), Guillermo Barros Schelotto, Jason Garey.

Real Salt Lake — Nick Rimando, Tony Beltran, Nat Borchers, Jamison Olave, Chris Wingert, Clint Mathis (Ned Grabavoy 75), Kyle Beckerman, Javier Morales (Jean Alexandre 85), Will Johnson, Robbie Findley (Andy Williams 70), Yura Movsisyan.

Misconduct Summary: ?
RSL — Nat Borchers (caution; Reckless Foul) 40?
RSL — Kyle Beckerman (caution; Reckless Foul) 45
CLB — Emmanuel Ekpo (caution; Delaying a Restart) 48+?
CLB — Robbie Rogers (caution; Reckless Tackle) 58

Referee: Alex Prus
Referee’s Assistants: Corey Rockwell; Fabio Tovar?
4th official: Tyler Ploeger?
Weather: Partly Cloudy -and- 48 degrees

Photo Gallery


All photos © Julia Fizer/AmericanSoccerNews.net

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RSL end Dallas playoff hopes

Posted on 19 October 2008 by Patrick McShane

Movsisyan and Serioux tangle ©ASN/Julia Fizer

Real Salt Lake inched one step closer to their first playoff appearance Saturday night as they casually dispatched of a FC Dallas squad playing with only 10 men after the 30th minute. It was make-or-break time for RSL as they played their second – and what could have been their final – match in their new stadium this season. Both Dallas and RSL entered the match fighting for the playoff lives, and for the first 20 minutes, it appeared that Dallas were the more hungry of the two teams.

RSL were in a hole within 7 minutes as Dallas converted a throw in from standout defender Adrian Serioux. Dallas jumped all over RSL from the opening whistle, earning numerous throw-in opportunities in dangerous areas while RSL seemed low on energy and apathetic. Serioux finally found a target on his third long-distance throw as he placed the ball perfectly to the head of an onrushing Marcelo Saragosa who nodded the ball home past a diving Nick Rimando. However, it appeared that the 1-0 hole knocked RSL awake as they began to find their legs and push forward.

The match continued to fluctuate between both teams until the 30th minute when Saragosa’s heroics now turned to villainy as he was ejected from the match for his second bookable offense. After receiving a yellow card just minutes prior for obstruction and a pushing match with RSL midfielder Dema Kovalenko, Saragosa was already being watched by head referee Kevin Stott when he came flying in to challenge RSL defender Robbie Russell for a header with his right elbow raised. It didn’t take a moment for Stott to award Saragosa his second yellow, subsequently giving RSL a man advantage for over an hour.

©ASN/Julia Fizer

It took RSL just five minutes to capitalize on Saragosa’s ejection as forward Yura Movsisyan continued his hot streak and fired home his sixth goal of the season off of a Drew Moor deflection. Receiving a beautiful pass from midfielder Javier Morales just at the top of the box, Movsisyan spun on Dallas captain Duilio Davino and fired a beautiful shot that took a ricochet off of Moor who was sliding to disrupt the play. One could sense that RSL was beginning to gain confidence off of the draw as they created several chances in the final minutes of the first half, including a dangerous header from Russell that required a diving save from Dallas keeper Dario Sala.

The second half appeared to be a continuation RSL’s lively attack despite Dallas reverting to a 4-4-1 formation to combat Saragosa’s loss and bunker on defense. This tactic seemed to do little to slow RSL’s attack as they continued to press on the wings, particularly with the addition of Andy Williams who replaced Kovalenko at half. RSL’s attacking buildup finally came to fruition in the 54th minute when midfielder Will Johnson rocketed home a spectacular shot to give RSL the 2-1 lead they had been chasing all match. Receiving a pass from Chris Wingert at the top of the box, Johnson popped the ball up with his toe and volleyed in a one-touch shot that bounced off of the right bar and in.

Ian Joy ©ASN/Julia Fizer

Even with the lead secured, RSL continued to press for a third goal to put the match out of reach. Unfortunately for the nerves of the 17,628 fans in attendance, it took until the 86th minute for RSL to finally gain the breathing room they desperately wanted. Countering after Dallas carelessly gave away possession, Morales and Williams combined on a tight passing play that resulted in the perfect setup to striker Robbie Findley who put home a beautiful shot to the top right corner of goal just beyond Sala’s reach. Not only was the goal important for RSL and their efforts in the match, it was also important for Findley who was looking to break out of a goal-scoring slump. “That’s what they put me in for at the end of the game, to add a little spark and hopefully to put the game away, if I can. I’ve been in a little drought, so to get that goal definitely helps me out a lot.”

With the win secured, RSL began to let down offensively and celebrate the possibility of their first playoff appearance. Unfortunately, Dallas were also considering their fortune of now being eliminated from playoff contention due to Kansas City & New York wins earlier in the night. This frustration spread to the players as Dallas earned their second red card of the night due to a reckless tackle from Pablo Ricchetti against Johnson. Despite the negative conclusion to an otherwise incredible night, RSL knew that they could now focus on watching Sunday’s match between Colorado and Chivas USA as that game determines the final step in their march towards the playoffs.

If Colorado fails to win (a loss or a draw) against Chivas, RSL will clinch the third automatic berth in the Western Conference, resulting in a potential home match on November 1st in a semifinal series against Chivas. Said coach Jason Kreis after the match: “We’ll be watching the (Chivas USA-Colorado) game tomorrow with our fingers crossed, hoping things go our way.”

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AT A GLANCE

FC Dallas at Real Salt Lake
Oct. 18, 2008, Rio Tinto Stadium, Sandy, Utah.
Scoring Summary:
DAL — Marcelo Saragosa 1 (Adrian Serioux 3) 7
RSL — Yura Movsisyan 6 (Javier Morales 14) 35
RSL — Will Johnson 2 (Chris Wingert 3) 54
RSL — Robbie Findley 6 (Javier Morales 15, Andy Williams 3) 86

FC Dallas — Dario Sala, Adrian Serioux (Eric Avila 58), Duilio Davino, Drew Moor, Blake Wagner, Victor Sikora (Dominic Oduro 71), Bruno Guarda, Pablo Ricchetti, Marcelo Saragosa, Jeff Cunningham, Kenny Cooper (Jamie Watson 79).

Real Salt Lake — Nick Rimando, Chris Wingert, Jamison Olave, Robbie Russell, Ian Joy, Kyle Beckerman, Dema Kovalenko (Andy Williams 46), Javier Morales, Will Johnson, Clint Mathis (Kenny Deuchar 89), Yura Movsisyan (Robbie Findley 73).

Misconduct Summary:
RSL — Robbie Russell (caution; Reckless Foul) 10
DAL — Marcelo Saragosa (caution; Unsporting Behavior) 22
RSL — Dema Kovalenko (caution; Unsporting Behavior) 22
DAL — Marcelo Saragosa (ejection; Second Caution) 30
DAL — Eric Avila (caution; Reckless Foul) 68
DAL — Duilio Davino (caution; Reckless Foul) 77
DAL — Pablo Ricchetti (ejection; Violent Conduct) 90

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RSL earn disappointing scoreless draw with Quakes

Posted on 20 June 2008 by Patrick McShane

Cunliffe heads it away from Borchers©ASN/Julia Fizer

Real Salt Lake (4-5-4, 16 pts.) remain unbeaten at home after drawing 0-0 against the San Jose Earthquakes (3-7-2, 11 pts.) in a hotly contested Wednesday night match in Salt Lake City. RSL let a perfect opportunity slip through their fingers to gain three more points in the competitive Western Conference as they were unable to take advantage of a man advantage for the second half due to the ejection of Earthquakes defender, Jason Hernandez.

One would think that both teams have become familiar foes this season, having met two previous times in both MLS and U.S. Open Cup play. RSL has outscored the Quakes 7-1 over those two matches, leading many to think that this would be another dominant performance by the home squad. Instead, both teams did little to impress as RSL couldn’t convert any of their 24 shots and the Quakes appeared content to bunker down and clear when under pressure.

The lineups for both teams appeared slightly different to previous encounters, with Matias Cordoba making his first home start for RSL as usual starting midfielder Andy Williams is on international duty for Jamaica. The Quakes also made a noticeable change, employing the services of standout midfielder Ronnie O’Brien on the hard plastic surface of Rice-Eccles Stadium for the first time this season. While Cordoba played admirably and was effective in supporting the attack, it was the play and aggression of O’Brien the held RSL to the scoreless draw. “He is a veteran, a leader, and an offense threat, so anytime we can get him on the field it is great for us… In the last two weeks he has led us out there on the field” noted Quakes defender Kelly Gray.

Beltran and Cunliffe get physical, physical©ASN/Julia Fizer

Despite O’Brien’s exceptional contribution, one would have to think that he and the entire Quakes squad feel fortunate to have escaped with the draw. Not only did RSL triple the Quakes total shots on goal and corner kicks earned, but they also had what appeared to be the game-winning goal called back in the 72nd minute due to a controversial offside call against captain Kyle Beckerman. Javier Morales drove a corner kick into the box which striker Robbie Findley calmly headed down towards both goal and Beckerman. Unsure as to whether the shot was going towards goal, Beckerman slammed the ball into the upper right corner. The 10,333 fans in attendance erupted as RSL players ran off to celebrate while Quakes players argued with the linesman for not raising his flag. After nearly two minutes of chaos and discussion on the pitch, the goal was called back after a meeting between the referee and his assistant.

Cunliffe and Olave do battle©ASN/Julia Fizer

The reversed call appeared to inspire RSL as they continued to drive forward, almost stealing another goal minutes later. While running up the right wing, Findley drove a low pass to Morales just at the top of the box which he blasted immediately at goal, only to see the ball hit the left post and bounce to safety. Even little-used substitute and typical holding-midfielder Kenny Cutler tried to get in the action in the dying minutes, as he lashed an amazing shot from 30 yards out only to be barely tipped away by Quakes keeper Joe Cannon. In the end, however, it made little difference as the Quakes continued to withstand every attack and escaped with a much needed point.

Unfortunately for RSL, they will have little time to lick their wounds from this bitter result as they host league-leading New England Revolution on Saturday. New England also played Wednesday night, coming from behind in the 79th minute to draw 1-1 with Red Bull New York at home. RSL has to hope that the Revs physical midweek match plus travel time will put them in the perfect position to earn a needed home win against a quality opponent before heading to Kansas City next week. Kick off is at 7:30 pm MT and can be seen live on MLS DirectKick.

AT A GLANCE
Scoring Summary:
None

San Jose Earthquakes — Joe Cannon, James Riley, Kelly Gray, Jason Hernandez, Eric Denton, Ronnie O’Brien, Ramiro Corrales, Ned Grabavoy, Ivan Guerrero (Ryan Cochrane 51), Ryan Johnson, John Cunliffe (Adam Smarte 61).

Real Salt Lake — Nick Rimando, Tony Beltran, Nat Borchers, Jamison Olave, Chris Wingert, Matias Cordoba (Kenny Cutler 67), Dema Kovalenko, Javier Morales, Kyle Beckerman, Robbie Findley, Kenny Deuchar (Tino Nunez 57).

Misconduct Summary:
SJ — Jason Hernandez (caution; Reckless Foul) 25
SJ — Jason Hernandez (ejection; Second Caution) 44
SJ — Ned Grabavoy (caution; Reckless Foul) 78
SJ — Kelly Gray (caution; Reckless Foul) 81
RSL — Nick Rimando (caution; Reckless Foul) 83

NOTES
• RSL will most likely be without the services of midfielder Nathan Sturgis as well as strikers Fabian Espindola and Yura Movsisyan for the match on Saturday as all three are continuing to nurse injuries.
• As reported by the Official Real Salt Lake Blog “Behind the Shield” (http://rsltothecore.com) on June 11, RSL has begun to look at new players to add to the squad for the stretch run when the international transfer window opens on July 15. First to train with the squad was 29-year-old German midfielder Sebastian Schindzielorz and it is rumored that RSL will continue to be bringing in a number of players over the next couple of weeks.

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RSL host struggling Wizards

Posted on 06 June 2008 by Patrick McShane

Real Salt Lake (3-5-2, 11 pts.) look to continue their superb home form when they take on the Kansas City Wizards (3-4-2, 11 pts.) this Saturday at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Undefeated at home and coming off a 3-1 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes last Saturday, it would appear that RSL are in perfect position to take on a Kansas City side which hasn’t won a league game since a 1-0 victory over the Chicago Fire on April 20.

The Wizards look to get back on track on the road after losing three of their last four matches, all which were away from the friendly atmosphere of CommunityAmerica Ballpark. While they have struggled on the road, the Wizards were actually one of the early surprises of the MLS this season after winning three of their first five matches, including what was at the time a shocking 2-0 defeat of D.C. United on opening night.

Unfortunately, the optimism from this early season run has quickly faded as the Wizards embarked on a six game road-trip, stealing only one victory and one draw. Add to the equation the fact that they haven’t played a league game since a 3-1 loss to the LA Galaxy on May 24, and one could be concerned about how they will round out the final match of this extended trip.

While the Wizards probably appreciated the rest this early in the season to recover from injuries, one would have to think they didn’t want this long of a lay off between matches. However, the team hasn’t been completely stagnant throughout the past two weeks. On Wednesday the Wizards met the Colorado Rapids in a U.S. Open Cup Qualifier match, winning 5-3 on penalty kicks after drawing 2-2 through extended time. While most teams rest their typical starters for USOC matches, the Wizard’s lineup was sprinkled with many players that should anticipate major playing time on Saturday as well.

On the other hand, RSL is coming into this match off a week that saw super-sub striker Robbie Findley voted MLS Player of the Week. Findley is RSL’s first Player of the Week winner since former striker Jeff Cunningham received the award after turning in a two-goal performance against FC Dallas in the 2007 season opener. It was a scintillating performance against San Jose that earned Findley this honor, as he scored the first goal of the match and assisted on the second, all after subbing in with three minutes left in the first half. Findley’s goal earned him the Sierra Mist Goal of the Week award as well.

Equaling Findley’s production was midfield maestro Javier Morales. Morales earned both a goal and assist, all after blowing an early opportunity for the lead in the third minute when he took a weak penalty kick straight into the arms of San Jose keeper Joe Cannon. If one thing has become abundantly clear throughout the season, it’s that as Morales goes, so does RSL. With last week’s assist, Morales tied Landon Donovan for the league lead, tallying six through nine matches played.

Fans should expect a grudge match on Saturday; with Wizards looking to end their road trip on a high note while RSL wants to maintain their home form as it has been their only consistent trait throughout the season. Kick off is at 9 pm EST (7:00 pm MST) and can be seen live on MLS DirectKick.

NOTES
• Midfielder Nathan Sturgis is still listed as out on the team’s injury report with a hamstring strain suffered over a month ago against Toronto FC.
• Ian Joy returns from a one-game suspension for a red card earned against Dallas two weeks ago, though it seems unlikely that he will return to the starting lineup. Rookie Tony Beltran has played excellent this season and seems poised to hold his place in the starting eleven regardless of Joy’s status.

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RSL remain undefeated at home by rocking the Quakes

Posted on 02 June 2008 by Patrick McShane

Real Salt Lake continued their stellar play at home this season, defeating the San Jose Earthquakes 3-1 thanks to a second-half scoring barrage led by Robbie Findley and Javier Morales. RSL has yet to lose a match on their home turf this season and continue to appear formidable on the plastic pitch at Rice-Eccles stadium.

Despite the high-scoring result, the match resembled “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” more than a juggernaut display by a dominant home team. In fact, the match was defined by two key plays, both of which took place in the first three minutes of each half. RSL started off strong when midfielder Kyle Beckerman earned a free kick, which was subsequently hit off of a defender’s arm in the box resulting in a penalty. Stepping up for RSL’s first penalty kick of the season, Morales casually took a right-footed shot right into the diving arms of Quakes keeper Joe Cannon, missing out on a golden opportunity to take an early lead and set their opponents on their heels.

{democracy}

The penalty miss appeared to deflate RSL’s spirits as they struggled for the rest of the half to mount any significant attack outside of a header by RSL forward Kenny Deuchar that bounced off of the post. Deuchar was particularly furious as he felt Quakes defender Ryan Cochrane held him in the box, leading to his miss-hit header. However, what appeared to be a tightly contested match changed drastically when RSL striker Findley came on for injured striker Fabian Espindola late in the first half.

Findley’s energy and drive had an immediate impact less than three minutes into the second the half when he collected a long pass from Morales in the far left corner. Cutting into the middle of the pitch past an unprepared Quakes defense, Findley launched a low, powerful shot past a surprised Cannon to open scoring. This appeared to trigger RSL back to life, as they continued to pressure on attack. It seemed as if all the weight from the early penalty miss was now off their shoulders as their midfield worked cheeky passes and combination plays on the left wing. This newfound aggression paid off in the 60th minute when Morales and Findley combined again for a second goal.

Finding himself with yards of open space in the middle of the pitch, Morales drove the ball forward to an onrushing Findley dragging three Quakes defenders with him. Noticing Morales was making an off the ball run, Findley placed a perfect one-touch pass into the box which Morales slotted to the right past Cannon. Often maligned for his heavy first touch, Findley demonstrated throughout the second half a deft feel for possession and vision, particularly when picking out Morales and putting RSL in the driving seat.

The match was all but over when Andy Williams earned RSL’s second penalty kick of the match by taking a perfectly placed pass from Morales and turned on goal, only to be dragged down from behind. Avoiding a repeat scenario, midfielder Dema Kovalenko took the kick instead of Morales, powering a goal past Cannon after reading his initial movement.

With the game seemingly out of reach, Quakes head coach Frank Yallop subbed in young Englishman John Cunliffe. In less than twenty minutes of play, Cunliffe continued to terrorize the RSL back four, converting on one goal attempt and nearly stealing another. Collecting a beautiful back-heel pass from Nick Garcia, Cunliffe dribbled between two RSL defenders and slammed a vicious shot past keeper Nic Rimando in the 84th minute. While the goal appeared to pay immense dividends for their morale, it seemed to be too little too late for the Quakes as the match ended with no significant action over the final six minutes plus stoppage time.

RSL look to continue their quality home form next week when they take on the Kansas City Wizards at Rice-Eccles stadium. In fact, five of RSL’s next seven opponents will be hosted at home. It seems that despite their struggles on the road, RSL knows they have some sweet home cooking at the moment. As Deuchar noted: “We’ve got a lot of good wins right here as well. We’ve got to concentrate on keeping this place a very had place to come to. Teams don’t like coming here, and if they know we are good at home they’re going to like it even less.”

AT A GLANCE
Attendance: 15,977
Weather: Clear -and- 80 degrees
Location: Rice-Eccles Stadium – Salt Lake City, Utah

Scoring Summary:
RSL — Robbie Findley 2 (Javier Morales 6) 48
RSL — Javier Morales 2 (Robbie Findley 2) 60
RSL — Dema Kovalenko 1 (penalty kick) 73
SJ — John Cunliffe 1 (Ramiro Corrales 1) 84

Misconduct Summary:
SJ — Jason Hernandez (caution; Reckless Foul) 62
SJ — Nick Garcia (caution; Tackle from Behind) 72
RSL — Kenny Deuchar (caution; Reckless Foul) 81

San Jose Earthquakes — Joe Cannon, Jason Hernandez, Ryan Cochrane, Nick Garcia, Eric Denton, Shea Salinas (James Riley 59), Ramiro Corrales, Joe Vide (Kelly Gray 71), Ned Grabavoy, Ryan Johnson, Jovan Kirovski (John Cunliffe 74).

Real Salt Lake — Nick Rimando, Tony Beltran, Nat Borchers, Jamison Olave, Chris Wingert, Andy Williams, Dema Kovalenko, Javier Morales (Matias Cordoba 79), Kyle Beckerman, Kenny Deuchar (Tino Nunez 85), Fabian Espindola (Robbie Findley 45).

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