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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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