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RSL stumble at home for disappointing draw

Posted on 25 July 2010 by Patrick McShane

Fans, coaches, and players alike experienced a number of surprises Saturday night as Real Salt Lake stumbled to a 1-1 draw with Chivas USA. First, there was the surprising start of RSL captain Kyle Beckerman after being out of action for nine weeks with a foot injury. Then there was the wonder strike from defensive midfield substitute Ned Grabavoy, blasting RSL into a deserved 1-0 lead. Unfortunately for the 19,469 fans in attendance, there was one more surprise waiting, as Chivas substitute Jesus Padilla powered a shot just minutes after Grabavoy’s strike that keeper Nick Rimando was unable to control, giving Chivas an unexpected point on the road and RSL a disappointing result on a home pitch where they typically excel.

The match began with a lot of promise for RSL supporters as the team seemed energized and prepared to make amends for a lethargic performance just a week earlier against Dallas. It was obvious that Beckerman specifically was up for the match as he has been itching to get back on the pitch for weeks. Logging just over 60 minutes, it was a solid, not spectacular, return for RSL’s emotional and vocal leader.

“I felt good,” said Beckerman. “Our goal was to get to about 60 minutes, so in that respect it was positive for me, outside of us not winning… The foot felt pretty solid after the match, and I think my fitness will come back.”

RSL’s aggression and intensity lead to a 9-1 shoot advantage going into half, but nothing tangible on the score sheet. While the early stages of the second half continued to produce more of the same energy and attack as the first, one notable difference was the four-minute span where both teams took advantage of sloppy plays to each earn a goal. The first came for RSL on a corner kick that deflected off of Chivas player and fell to Grabavoy who blasted a one-timer to the top left corner of goal. Given little time to celebrate, Chivas began to press RSL on the counter, setting up Padilla for his own blast at goal from just outside the box. While it appeared initially that Rimando was up to task to knock the shot down, the ball took a bizarre bounce between his legs and rolled in to goal.

“I’ve got to do better on that,” noted Rimando after the match. “I know these balls move. He hit it right at me and I thought I had it and the next thing you know the ball goes right through my legs and into the net.”

Happy to sit back and take a point on the road, Chivas played organized and smart defense for the remainder of the match, frustrating RSL and slowing down every attacking opportunity. While a firework display in honor of a statewide holiday awaited the sold-out crowd, there was a sense of frustration and disappointment throughout Rio Tinto Stadium as the match came to a close.

Once seen as the top offensive team in the league, RSL has mustered a meager 2 goals over their last three matches. With four players selected, and three likely to play, for the MLS All-Stars this coming Wednesday versus Manchester United, it will be interesting to see what lineup coach Jason Kreis unveils to ignite a struggling offense when RSL face MLS cellar dwellers D.C. United next Saturday.

REAL SALT LAKE (9-4-4, 31 pts.) v. CHIVAS USA (4-9-3, 15 pts.)
SATURDAY, JULY 24, 2010 – RIO TINTO STADIUM

Scoring Summary:
RSL — Ned Grabavoy 2 (unassisted) 66
CHV — Jesus Padilla 4 (unassisted) 70

Misconduct Summary:
CHV — Rodolfo Espinoza (caution; Reckless Foul) 28
RSL — Kyle Beckerman (caution; Reckless Tackle) 51
CHV — Mariano Trujillo (caution; Reckless Tackle) 54
CHV — Dan Kennedy (caution; Delaying a Restart) 78
RSL — Alvaro Saborio (caution; Dissent) 82

Real Salt Lake (4-4-2) — Nick Rimando; Tony Beltran, Nat Borchers, Jamison Olave, Chris Wingert; Andy Williams, Kyle Beckerman (Ned Grabavoy 62), Javier Morales, Will Johnson; Alvaro Saborio (Pablo Campos 83), Fabian Espindola (Robbie Findley 68).

Statistics – Shots: 20 (Saborio 6); Shots on Goal: 8 (Grabavoy, Williams 2); Saves: 1 (Rimando 1); Fouls: 8 (3 players with 2); Corners: 4 (Morales 3); Offside: 3 (Espindola 3)

Chivas USA (4-4-2) — Dan Kennedy; Mariano Trujillo, Michael Umana, Dario Delgado, Ante Jazic; Michael Lahoud (Ben Zemanski 46), Paulo Nagamura (Jesus Padilla 69), Blair Gavin, Rodolfo Espinoza; Justin Braun, Giancarlo Maldonado (Carlos Borja 82).

Statistics – Shots: 5 (Espinoza 2); Shots on Goal: 2 (Nagamura, Padilla 1); Saves: 7 (Kennedy 7); Fouls: 12 (Espinoza, Nagamura 3); Corners: 3 (Espinoza 3); Offside: 2 (Braun, Maldonado 1)

Referee: Mark Geiger
Referee’s Assistants: Paul Scott; Peter Manikowski
4th Official: Ramon Hernandez
Attendance: 19,469 (sellout)

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