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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.

{democracy:15}

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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