Tag Archive | "Morales"

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RSL down road warrior Revs

Posted on 23 June 2008 by Patrick McShane

Real Salt Lake (5-5-4, 19 pts.) continued their impressive run of home domination; dispatching the New England Revolution (8-4-3, 26 pts.) 2-1 in a match that now place RSL in sole possession of second place in the Western Conference. With the win, RSL move to the .500 mark and continue their unbeaten streak at home for the season.

Despite an emphatic result against one of the top teams in the MLS, things didn’t appear so rosy for RSL in the early minutes of the match. Skillfully controlling possession and working the ball wide, it appeared that RSL were poised to strike early. However, that quickly changed in the 8th minute when Adam Cristman took advantage of sloppy communication between keeper Nick Rimando and defender Nat Borchers, to steal and early goal, stunning the 11,965 RSL fans in attendance. What looked like a harmless deep pass from Revs keeper Matt Reis turned into tragedy as the ball skied off of the plastic pitch at Rice-Eccles Stadium, causing a 50/50 dilemma for Rimando and Borchers. Noticing the confusion, Cristman seized the moment and rushed from behind Borchers to casually head the ball into the back of the net.

Reis got to this one… ©ASN/Julia Fizer

One could sense the energy on the pitch jump up a level as RSL began to push forward. That energy came to fruition a short three minutes later when RSL equalized off of a free kick. After striker Robbie Findley was taken down approximately 30 yards outside of the box, midfielder Javier Morales stepped up to lash a beautiful cross deep into a crowd of players in the box, knocking the ball in the net off of the head of Revs defender Jay Heaps. The importance of the goal couldn’t have been greater, as RSL coach Jason Kreis noted after the match: “That was hugely important that we had a quick turnaround there, because if it had dragged on a lot longer until halftime it would have been a difficult thing to come back from mentally for the guys.”

…but not the game winner by Tino Nunez, here in his post game interview

For the remainder of the first half both teams continued to press for a game-changing goal. Revolution rookie sensation Kheli Dube blasted a shot on goal that Rimando barely got a hand on to pop up in the air. On the other side of the pitch, RSL striker Kenny Deuchar had two chances to score, both by challenging Reis for potential headers in the box with the first header hitting off the right post and the second drifting harmless out of bounds. Trepidation hit in 40th minute when Findley appeared to have been knocked out as he was going for an aerial challenge, leading to a mild concussion and an eventual substitution for unproven rookie striker Tino Nuñez.

The second half began where the first half left off with RSL continuing to look bright on attack and capable in defense. Right-back Tony Beltran created multiple opportunities for Deuchar, putting in two deadly crosses from the right wing that created anxious moments for the Revs. However, the momentum of the match took a significant turn in the 60th minute, when Nuñez scored his first MLS goal of his young career due to a fortuitous deflection off of a Revs defender. Morales was trying to play the ball into space for Nuñez on a cut-run, only for the ball to deflect of the back of a Revs player and fall at the feet of an open Nuñez with yards of space around him. Taking advantage of the opportunity, Nuñez coolly placed the ball to the right of goal past Reis with a finish that would impress even a seasoned striker.

Williams gives chase

Despite earning the go-ahead goal, RSL continued to press forward hoping to distance themselves from the Revs as much as possible. After near misses by midfielders Andy Williams and Matias Cordoba, the match ended with RSL earning a well-deserved three points that had eluded them for the past two home matches. RSL will take their unbeaten streak of five matches on the road next Saturday as they face Easter Conference cellar-dwellers Kansas City Wizards.

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AT A GLANCE

Scoring Summary:
NE — Adam Cristman 4 (unassisted) 8?
RSL — Own Goal (Jay Heaps) 11?
RSL — Tino Nunez 1 (unassisted) 60

New England Revolution — Matt Reis, Chris Albright, Jay Heaps, Michael Parkhurst, Amaechi Igwe (Wells Thompson 62), Steve Ralston, Jeff Larentowicz, Pat Phelan, Sainey Nyassi (Chris Tierney 77), Kheli Dube, Adam Cristman.

Real Salt Lake — Nick Rimando, Chris Wingert, Nat Borchers, Jamison Olave, Tony Beltran, Kyle Beckerman, Dema Kovalenko, Javier Morales, Andy Williams (Matias Cordoba 84), Robbie Findley (Tino Nunez 41), Kenny Deuchar (Kenny Cutler 71).

Misconduct Summary: ?
NE — Jay Heaps (caution; Tackle from Behind) 20?
NE — Steve Ralston (caution; Reckless Foul) 66?
RSL — Kyle Beckerman (caution; Reckless Foul) 76

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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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