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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 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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