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Revs Earn Draw with RSL in Six-goal Thriller

Posted on 05 July 2011 by Matty Jollie

Sainey Nyassi and the Revs failed to protect three separate one-goal leads

Sandy, UT – In one of the most wildly entertaining matches in recent MLS memory, the New England Revolution (3-8-7, 16pts) battled to a 3-3 draw with hosts Real Salt Lake (7-3-6, 27pts) on Independence Day. The draw earned the Revolution their first ever point at the Rio Tinto Stadium, however given the circumstances in which the match played out, New England will take the point, but will rue the missed opportunity to take all three.

Revolution head coach Steve Nicol remained in the 4-5-1 formation to start, with Rajko Lekic once again the lone striker, backed up by the recently healthy Benny Feilhaber up the middle.  The back four remained unchanged, as Darrius Barnes started once again at left-back for Dider Domi, who still has yet to recover fully from his injury.

The match was turned upside-down almost immediately, when a long goal kick from Revolution goalkeeper Matt Reis in the 3rd minute somehow squirted through to an onside Feilhaber, who got behind the Real defense, and was taken down in the box from behind by RSL center-back Nat Borchers. Feilhaber was awarded a penalty kick, while Borchers was shown straight red for his tackle, reducing Real to 10 men with nearly 86 minutes left to play.

Rajko Lekic strode to the spot to take the resulting penalty, and the much-maligned Danish striker calmly, and ever-so-cheekily faked out Real goalkeeper Nick Rimando, and chipped the ball into the net to the opposite side.  The goal was Lekic’s third of the season, and second in three matches, and it gave the Revolution an incredibly desired early lead.

Real Salt Lake coach Jason Kreis was forced into making an early substitution in the 9th minute, when he replaced Collen Warner with Chris Schuler, trying to give Real a more balanced 10 man squad. The move, however, didn’t have the exact desired effect, as evidenced by New England doubling their lead almost 8 minutes later through a Chris Tierney free kick.  The kick came from the top of the Real box, and the left-footed Tierney fired a well driven shot that hugged the ground and managed to find enough space under the defensive wall and it found the right bottom corner passed a diving Rimando.

The hosts did manage to pull within a goal before halftime, when Real was awarded a free kick just to the outside left of the Revolution box.  MLS journeyman Andy Williams stepped up to the free kick and curled a magnificently crafted ball to the top corner but it was stopped by both Reis and the goalpost, however the Revolution defense was caught ball-watching, and Will Johnson all-too-easily tapped in the rebound.

After a few close calls in the Revolution defensive third, the match hit the halftime mark with New England still up one goal, and one man on the field, however both advantages  would be relinquished not soon after the second half began.

Real Salt Lake found their equalizer ten minutes after the second half whistle, when match referree Yader Reyes awarded the home side with a penalty kick after an apparent hand-ball by Revolution right-back Kevin Alston.  The spot kick was taken by Alvaro Saborio, who froze Matt Reis in his track and buried the penalty into the bottom right corner, evening the match.

Much to their credit, New England managed to find a third goal just seven minutes later off of yet another set piece.  Revolution midfielder Benny Feilhaber stepped up to take a medium-range free kick to the outside left of the Salt Lake box, and his resulting cross somehow found Shalrie Joseph amidst a sea of cobalt-clad defenders, and the Revs captain found the back of the net after his glancing header deflected off of the right post and into the net.

With a one-goal lead and only 24 minutes left to play, Revolution defender Ryan Cochrane committed a crucial defensive error when he fouled Andy Williams from behind by tugging on the Jamaican’s jersey. The foul earned Cochrane his second yellow card, and the match was then turned into a 10v10 affair, which seemingly ignited the Real Salt Lake team as well as their fans.

The match equalizer was finally found in the 83rd minute through second half substitute Fabian Espindola, after Saborio managed to retain possession at the top of the box, fought off two defenders, and slotted a great through pass to Espindola, who buried the chance and tied the match.

The match ended at 3-3, giving both sides a hard-fought point, although each side felt incredibly differently about the draw. New England certainly will feel they missed a huge opportunity to not only earn three points, but to give themselves a bit of a statement game to build from, while Real Salt Lake will unquestionably revel in their gutsy, come-from-behind performance.

New England now returns home to Foxboro for a July 13th meeting with European juggernauts and 19-time Premier League champion, Manchester United. The match is part of the HerbaLife World Football Challenge, pitting some of the top clubs from around the World against MLS competition, as well as each other.  The next league fixture for New England, comes on the following Sunday, when they host Easter Conference rival Philadelphia Union.



New England Revolution at Real Salt Lake

July 4, 2011 – Rio Tinto Stadium (Sandy, Utah)

New England Revolution 3, Real Salt Lake 3

Scoring Summary:

NE – Rajko Lekic (penalty kick) 4

NE – Chris Tierney (unassisted) 16

RSL – Will Johnson (unassisted) 24

RSL – Alvaro Saborio (penalty kick) 56

NE – Shalrie Joseph (Benny Feilhaber) 63

RSL – Fabian Espindola (Alvaro Saborio, Jamison Olave) 83

New England Revolution: Matt Reis, Darrius Barnes (Kenny Mansally 46), A.J. Soares, Ryan Cochrane, Kevin Alston (Didier Domi 86), Chris Tierney, Benny Feilhaber, Shalrie Joseph ©, Pat Phelan, Sainey Nyassi (Zak Boggs 65), Rajko Lekic

Substitutes Not Used: Bobby Shuttleworth, Franco Coria, Ryan Guy, Zack Schilawski

STATS*: Shots: 7; Shots on Goal: 5; Saves: 10; Corner Kicks: 1; Offside: 1; Fouls Committed: 12

Real Salt Lake: Nick Rimando, Tony Beltran, Nat Borchers ©, Jamison Olave, Robbie Russell (Kyle Beckerman 46), Will Johnson, Collen Warner (Chris Schuler 9), Ned Grabavoy, Andy Williams, Alvaro Saborio, Luis Gil (Fabian Espindola 63)

Substitutes Not Used: Kyle Reynish, Jean Alexandre, Chris Wingert, Nelson Gonzalez

STATS*: Shots: 20; Shots on Goal: 13; Saves: 2; Corner Kicks: 4; Offside: 0; Fouls Committed: 14

* Note that all statistics are unofficial

Misconduct Summary:

RSL – Nat Borchers (ejection) 3

NE – Shalrie Joseph (caution) 13

NE – Ryan Cochrane (caution) 23

NE – Rajko Lekic (caution) 55

NE – Ryan Cochrane (caution) 67

NE – Ryan Cochrane (second caution/ejection) 67

RSL – Kyle Beckerman (caution) 85

RSL – Alvaro Saborio (caution) 93+

Team Records:

New England Revolution – 3-8-7, 16 pts.

Real Salt Lake – 7-3-6, 27 pts.

Referee: Yader Reyes

Assistant Referees: Peter Balciunas, Mike Kampmeinert

Fourth Official: Allen Chapman

Weather: Cloudy and 81 degrees

Attendance:  16,139


With the draw, the Revs improved to 4-6-4 all-time against Real Salt Lake, including a 2-3-2 mark in matches played in Utah

The Revs’ three goals in the road match marked the first time that the team has scored three (or more) goals on the road since a 3-1 win at Kansas City on April 9, 2008

The Revs’ three goals marked just the third time this season the team scored more than one goal in a game, and the first time since April 23 in a 3-2 win over Sporting Kansas City at home

This was also the first game this year in which the Revs scored more than one goal on the road, and the first multiple-goal game away from Gillette Stadium since Oct. 10, 2010, in a 2-1 win at Houston

Shalrie Joseph became just the second player in Revolution history to play 20,000 minutes with the team … he entered the game with 19,946 minutes played, and by playing into the 54th minute, Joseph reached the 20,000-minute mark … Jay Heaps (21,619 minutes) is the club’s all-time minutes played leader

Chris Tierney returned to the lineup at left midfield after missing the team’s last game – at Seattle on June 26 – with a left foot contusion … Ryan Guy, who started in his place against the Sounders, returned to the bench

Rajko Lekic’s successful penalty attempt in the fourth minute marked the first time since 2009 that a Revolution player other than Shalrie Joseph had stepped to the spot for the Revolution … Steve Ralston went 4-for-4 in 2009, before Joseph took over primary PK duties for the team later that season and into 2010 and 2011

Rajko Lekic’s successful penalty kick was the second penalty kick drawn this season by Benny Feilhaber … he also drew the Revs’ PK chance on May 14 at home against Vancouver, which was successfully converted by Shalrie Joseph

Rajko Lekic’s goal was the Revs’ first-ever at Rio Tinto Stadium … the team had been held scoreless in their first two visits in 2009 and 2010

With his caution in the 13th minute, Shalrie Joseph picked up his fifth caution of the season and will be forced to sit the Revs’ next league match – on Sunday, July 17 against Philadelphia – while serving a mandatory one-game yellow-card accumulation suspension

Chris Tierney scored his second goal of the season and his second directly off a free kick … he previously scored straight off a free kick at San Jose on May 21 … the goal was Tierney’s third of his career overall

When Kenny Mansally came into the game at the half, he moved into the left midfield spot and Chris Tierney moved back to left back

Shalrie Joseph scored his fifth goal of the season with his redirected header off Benny Feilhaber’s free kick in the 63rd minute … it was his first goal since May 14 against Vancouver, a span of eight games

Joseph’s five goals mark his third-highest season goal production in his MLS career, behind his eight goals (in 27 games) in 2009, and six goals (in 31 games) in 2005

Benny Feilhaber recorded his third assist as a member of the Revolution, and his second in as many games

With his two yellow cards in tonight’s game, Ryan Cochrane will also miss the July 17 match against Philadelphia while serving his mandatory one-game yellow-card accumulation suspension

With Ryan Cochrane’s ejection, Pat Phelan dropped back into central defense, leaving the Revs in a 4-4-1 formation

When Didier Domi came into the game in the 86th minute, he moved into the left back position and Chris Tierney then moved to right back for Kevin Alston

Didier Domi’s appearance was his first since June 10, when he started at left back against New York

Matt Reis made 10 saves on the night, one shy of his career high – 11 against Kansas City on July 11, 2009

With the draw, the Revs are now winless in their last eight games (0-5-3) … the eight-game winless stretch is the second-longest in club history, one game shy of the club-record nine-game winless streak in 2009 (0-9 between May 13 and July 1)

With the draw, the Revs moved to 0-6-3 in away games this season … the last game in which the team picked up a point on the road was at Vancouver on April 6

The draw also extended the team’s winless streak in games played in the Mountain and Pacific times zones to 14 games, dating back to September 2009 (0-10-4)

With the 3-3 score line, the Revs have now been out-scored by a combined line of 14-3 in their three visits to Rio Tinto Stadium (6-0 loss in 2009 and 5-0 loss in 2010)

Tonight’s game was the team’s 12th match against Western Conference opponents this season – in 18 games

After tonight’s match, the Revs will have a bye weekend in the schedule next weekend, before playing a friendly against Manchester United on Wednesday, July 13, and returning to the MLS schedule on Sunday, July 17, against Philadelphia … both matches will be played at home

After tonight’s game, the Revs will play three of their next four league matches on the road with the only home game coming on July 17 against Philadelphia … the Revs will then play a midweek match on Wednesday, July 20 at D.C., before heading straight to Colorado to face the Rapids on Saturday, July 23

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New England 0 – Real Salt Lake 2

Posted on 09 April 2011 by Hank Alexandre

In another game dominated by questionable refereeing, the New England Revolution were shown up by Real Salt Lake’s second string in a 0-2 defeat at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro.

Head Coach Steve Nicol made three changes from Wednesday night’s line up, inserting Kenny Mansally on the right wing and Marko Perovic on the left. Franco Coria was the third line up, coming in for AJ Soares who was issued a questionable red card in the match against Vancouver.

Salt Lake head coach Jason Kreis made more wholesale changes from his midweek CONCACAF Champions League squad, resting starters Nick Rimando, Kyle Beckerman, Nat Borchers, Fabian Espindola, Andy Williams and Javier Morales.

Despite the lack of star power, the Real Salt Lake side did more than enough to throw the Revolution off their stride. AS the first half progressed, the Revs were hard pressed to mount any serious attack, much less maintain any possession.

The first real chance from either side came when Bobby Shuttleworth was tested by Salt Lake’s Will Johnson in the 21st minute, but the Revs keeper was equal to the task, jumping high to his left to stop the ball from going into the upper right corner. New England came back minutes later with a scathing shot from Kenny Mansally who took a chance from distance, but his effort sailed over the cross bar.

It was the visitors that would draw first blood however, following an excellent chance by MLS veteran, Salt Lake Midfielder Ned Grabavoy, whose curling shot beat Shuttleworth but deflected off the post before it was cleared out by the Revs’ defense for a Salt Lake corner. Warner’s corner from the left side was inswinger, and Salt Lake centerback Chris Schuler beat everyone to it and headed it into the back of the net.

The goal seemed to energize the Revolution squad as they began to assert themselves on the field. But, despite dominating the run of play and commanding most of the possession, the home side was unable to find an equalizer before the half ran out. Pat Phelan did well to connect with an excellent cross from Kevin Alston in the 42nd minute, but his header could not find the frame. Marko Perovic won a free kick in the 44th minute, however his effort could not find the corner. Finally in stoppage time Zack Schilawski missed with his header from Stephen McCarthy’s cross.

The second half saw two substitutions from the Revs as they shifted to a true 4-4-2, moving Perovic up top and taking off Schilawski and McCarthy and introducing Sainey Nyassi on the right hand side and Ilija Stolica at forward. It would be Salt Lake however to capitalize again, this time on a break away from Paulo Araujo, Jr., who was led into open space behind the Revs’ back line by Collen Warner. Paulo Jr , one on one with Shuttleworth slotted the ball home and took the 2-0 lead.

New England again steeled themselves and pushed forward into the attack, first winning a corner kick in the 49th minute, followed by a right footed blast from Perovic. Reserve Salt Lake keeper Kyle Reynish was well positioned to make the save, and denied the Serbian striker’s bid for his first goal of the season.

The Revs were forced to use their final substitution in the 53rd minute, as Ryan Cochrane left the field with an injury, and Darrius Barnes came on, making only his second appearance of the season.

Minutes later, Salt Lake mustered another attack in the 58th minute, again through Paulo, Jr. This time Shuttleworth was equal to the task, again diving to his left to make the save. Almost immediately New England countered with another attack from Perovic, whose effort moved left.

In the 60th minute, the tension on the field began to escalate as Kevin Alston collided with Will Johnston, who caromed hard off the defender and into the field side advertising boards. Alston, who picked up a yellow card for the foul, had words with Arturo Alvarez, who somehow escaped disciplinary action after shoving Alston in front of Referee Jason Anno.

Perhaps sensing more yellow cards were coming, Kreis subbed off Jean Alexandre, and put in his normal starting midfielder Kyle Beckerman in the 62 minute. Beckerman almost immediately had an impact on the match, as he instigated an argument with Revolution captain Shalrie Joseph. Joseph, who pointed his finger into Beckerman’s face more than once, was shown a straight red card in the 70th minute, and the game deteriorated from there.

Despite a handful of chances from both sides, the story on the pitch once again became about the officiating. Referee Jason Anno, having already sent off Joseph, tacked on another red card to his midfield partner Pat Phelan. He then issued a second yellow to Will Johnson, resulting in three ejections in one game.

This was the second game in less than a week for the Revs that had three ejections.

With a 10 man Salt Lake team facing 9 men from New England, the remainder of play slightly favored the visitors, as it had for most of the match. Coach Nicol said of his team’s performance “we weren’t good…first half we probably found their men more times than we found our own. If you do that, I don’t care who you play against, You’re going to be in trouble. You have to give them credit, they had great shape, and kept solid.”

Due to the red cards, the Revs will be without the services of Joseph and Phelan when they head to take on Houston on Sunday, April 17th. However they hope to have the services of new signing, danish striker Rajko Lekic, provided his paperwork is complete, as well as veteran French midfielder Ousmane Dabo, who is expected to return to full training next week.

Scoring Summary:
RSL – Chris Schuler (Collen Warner) 27
RSL – Paulo Jr. (Collen Warner) 47

New England Revolution: Bobby Shuttleworth, Didier Domi, Franco Coria, Ryan Cochrane (Darrius Barnes 53), Kevin Alston, Pat Phelan, Shalrie Joseph ©, Stephen McCarthy (Ilija Stolica 46), Kenny Mansally, Zack Schilawski (Sainey Nyassi 46), Marko Perovic

Substitutes Not Used: Tim Murray, Chris Tierney, Kheli Dube, Zak Boggs

STATS*: Shots: 9; Shots on Goal: 3; Saves: 4; Corner Kicks: 2; Offside: 0; Fouls Committed: 19

Real Salt Lake: Kyle Reynish, Tony Beltran, Rauwshan McKenzie, Chris Schuler, Robbie Russell, Ned Grabavoy, Collen Warner (Luis Gil 79), Jean Alexandre (Kyle Beckerman 62), Will Johnson ©, Arturo Alvarez, Paulo Araujo

Substitutes Not Used: Nick Rimando, Nat Borchers, Fabian Espindola, Javier Morales, Andy Williams

STATS*: Shots: 14; Shots on Goal: 6; Saves: 3; Corner Kicks: 4; Offside: 1; Fouls Committed: 16

* Note that all statistics are unofficial

Misconduct Summary:
NE – Franco Coria (caution) 34
RSL – Jean Alexandre (caution) 37
NE – Ilija Stolica (caution) 51
NE – Kevin Alston (caution) 60
NE – Shalrie Joseph (ejection) 70
RSL – Chris Schuler (caution) 74
RSL – Will Johnson (caution) 84
NE – Pat Phelan (ejection) 85
NE – Didier Domi (caution) 86
RSL – Will Johnson (caution) 87
RSL – Will Johnson (second caution/ejection) 87

Referee: Jasen Anno
Assistant Referees: Bill Ditmar, Eric Proctor
Fourth Official: Niko Bratsis
Weather: Clear, 50 degrees
Attendance: 7,970

New England: 1-1-3, 6 pts.
Real Salt Lake: 3-0-0, 9 pts.

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Preview: Real Salt Lake @ New England

Posted on 08 April 2011 by Matty Jollie

Fresh off a semi-final victory over Saprissa (Costa Rica) in the CONCACAF Champions League, Real Salt Lake comes to Foxboro on Saturday night to take on the Revolution, who are coming off two draws against each of the new expansion sides in MLS. RSL could quite possibly be the most in form team not only in MLS, but CONCACAF itself, as they have already booked a spot in the CCL Final and sit undefeated in MLS play as well. New England, while unbeaten, have done it with a bit of luck, good defense, and quick starts thus far in their MLS campaign. So, with two unbeaten sides, something may have to give on Saturday night, let’s see how it will shake down.

GOALKEEPER – Nick Rimando sits between the sticks for RSL, and possesses quite possibly the safest pair of hands in the league. Rimando is a great backbone to an already stout defense, and provides the Salt Lake side with a great last line of defense. New England is a bit of a question mark in goal, with Matt Reis still struggling with an abductor strain (Reis didn’t make the trip to Vancouver) which means it will most likely be Bobby Shuttleworth in net for the Revs, who has shown he can come up big when needed. ADVANTAGE: Real Salt Lake. Rimando is healthy, and in-form.

DEFENSE – Philadelphia Union color-commentator, and former Revs standout, Taylor Twellman posed a great question via Twitter during the CCL Semi-Final the other night, asking who the best CB tandem in the league was, and most answered with Olave and Borchers. These two strong, physical players are firing on all cylinders and have made this Salt Lake defense very difficult to score against. New England has been a pleasant surprise thus far this season, with an infusion of youth into their back line. First-round pick A.J. Soares (unavailable due to red card) has been a solid addition, as has Franco Coria. However, through injury and suspension, look for familiar face Darrius Barnes to get some minutes, paired with veteran Ryan Cochrane. ADVANTAGE: Real Salt Lake, but it’s closer than you think.

MIDFIELD – The Revolution have found a midfield tandem they are comfortable with, but it still remains a work in progress. Pat Phelan has done a nice job patrolling the defensive midfield with rookie Stephen McCarthy, and Zak Boggs and Sainey Nyassi have injected energy down the flanks. However, the Revs midfielder is all about captain Shalrie Joseph, whose play has ignited the Revs midfield, including his two goals early in the season. If the Revs are going to have a chance against Real Salt Lake, the possession control MUST be better. The Revs have struggled maintaining possession of late, and it’s an area of much needed improvement, which when improved, will also increase the quality of service to the forwards up top. Real Salt Lake has two standout players in the midfield, with Kyle Beckerman and Javier Morales. Beckerman is the team’s midfield general, providing the team with energy and physical play, while Morales is more of the talisman of the RSL midfield, creating chances through set pieces and the run of play. There is certainly a strong quality coming from the RSL midfield, and if the Revs are to come away from this match with some points, it’s going to have to come through containing Morales and winning possession. ADVANTAGE: Real Salt Lake, but again, it’s closer than you think.

FORWARDS – Second year forward Zack Schilawski has done a really nice job as the lone striker in Nicol’s 4-5-1 formation, holding up play well and winning possession, however, the question marks lie in the service Schilawski is provided with. Schilawski (and Stolica, for that matter) aren’t the type of dynamic striker that can create their own opportunities, and need proper service from the flanks and midfield if they are to be successful, and thus far, it’s been lacking. For the Revs to be successful, the service needs to be of better quality. Real Salt Lake has a nice mixture of youth and experience up top, with veterans Andy Williams and Alvaro Saborio pairing with Arturo Alvarez and Fabian Espindola. Saborio is certainly the centerpiece here, and if he’s provided with good support, he can be extremely dangerous. The Real Salt Lake forwards aren’t overly physical, so it’s going to be a matter of containing the speed and skill of their dynamic strikers for the Revs’ defense. ADVANTAGE: Real Salt Lake. The service absolutely has to improve if the Revolution want to score goals.

COACHING – Jason Kreis may be young, but it is extremely difficult to argue with the results he’s put up so far in MLS, and now, even in the CONCACAF Champions’ League. He’s the general of the hottest team in the region, and it seems like every move he has made has turned to gold. Steve Nicol, while still getting results, is impressive in another manner. There’s no question the Revs are nowhere near healthy, but Nicol continues to find ways to get points and move up the table. ADVANTAGE: Push. But if you had to choose, how could Kreis’ achievement as youngest MLS Cup winning coach not sway your decision?

PREDICTION – It is almost impossible to see the Revs even stealing a point here at home. If you watched the Vancouver match, you know the Revolution put up a horrible display up two men for almost 30 minutes, and with another cross-country trip to get back home and play again in 3 days, it doesn’t look good for the home side on Saturday night. SCORE: Real Salt Lake 3 – New England 1.

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RSL set numerous records in convincing 2-0 victory over Dallas

Posted on 17 October 2010 by Patrick McShane

Saturday night was a battle between two seemingly unmovable forces, when Real Salt Lake overpowered FC Dallas 2-0 to remain the Supporters’ Shield race and to join the 2005 San Jose Earthquakes as the only two teams in MLS history to go undefeated at home during the regular season. Though the early minutes of the match seemed to be a defensive grudge match, RSL were able to step up the tempo in the second half and pull away from Dallas in front of a record-setting home crowd of 20,236.

“It’s the first time this year that someone’s been that aggressive on our field in the first 15-20 minutes of the match,” noted RSL coach Jason Kreis. “I walk away from this game and probably feel the most proud about shutting out what’s a very, very good and dangerous attacking team.”

Veteran midfielder Ned Grabavoy earned his third goal of the season as he broke the deadlock in the 59th minute with a looping header over the top of Dallas keeper Dario Sala. While RSL created a number of offensive opportunities in the second half, one would be hard-pressed to have guessed that it would be Grabavoy who would score the game winner. Said Grabavoy: “I think I was just in a better spot. It was one of those balls where he is kind of backpedaling and I am seeing it the whole time. So I was kind of in the right spot at the right time.“

Dallas continued to press throughout the second half, but seemed to run out of gas while RSL’s midfield began to get a lock on the run of play and maintained the pressure on the Dallas back line. Things started to look worse for Dallas in the 83rd minute when physical defender Ugo Ihemelu was subbed out for young attacker Ruben Luna. Seeing that Ihemelu was largely responsible for neutralizing the RSL attack up to that point, one had to know that another goal was in the cards.

It took just six minutes for RSL to exploit the substitution when Andy Williams found substitute Robbie Findley open on the left wing for a free run on goal. Rather than try to force a shot from a tough angle, Findley wisely passed the ball to Javier Morales who casually knocked the ball past an onrushing Sala. With the goal, Morales now stands in second place on RSL’s scoring chart for the season with seven goals and he continues to press for MLS MVP consideration.

With only one road match remaining, RSL find themselves on the precipice of setting a number team and MLS records by seasons end. Having only given up 18 goals on the season, RSL needs to simply avoid a catastrophic letdown against their Rocky Mountain rivals next Saturday to set the MLS record for fewest goals allowed in a season. Additionally, if the team holds to form and secures a shutout next week, they will also set the MLS record for fewest road goals allowed in a season.

Even though the Colorado Rapids secured a playoff berth with a stunning 3-1 victory over the LA Galaxy, they will still have pride and the Rocky Mountain Cup on the line when they meet RSL, meaning both teams will hold nothing back despite their postseason futures already decided. “Every game has been a big game lately and we just keep on going and going and going,” noted Grabavoy. “We still have the Supporters Shield in our reach and that’s obviously a goal of ours, and as long as it is still there we are going to go for it.”

REAL SALT LAKE (15-4-10, 55 pts.) v. FC DALLAS (12-3-14, 50 pts.)

Scoring Summary:
RSL–Grabavoy 3 (Russell 5, Morales 9) 59
RSL–Morales 7 (Findley 4, Williams 7) 89

Misconduct Summary:
RSL — Fabian Espíndola (caution; Reckless Foul) 75
RSL — Andy Williams (caution; Reckless Foul) 80
DAL — Heath Pearce (caution; Unsporting Behavior) 88

FC DALLAS–Dario Sala, Heath Pearce, Jair Benitez, George John, Ugo Ihemelu
(Ruben Luna 83), Jackson Goncalves, David Ferreira, Marvin Chavez, Dax McCarty
(Atiba Harris 71), Daniel Hernandez, Milton Rodriguez (Jeff Cunningham 46).

TOTAL SHOTS: 5 (Cunningham 2); SHOTS ON GOAL: 3 (3 tied with 1); FOULS: 7
(Hernandez 4); OFFSIDE: 5; CORNER KICKS: 7;SAVES: Sala 1; CAUTIONS: Pearce
88; EJECTIONS: None.

REAL SALT LAKE–Nick Rimando, Robbie Russell, Tony Beltran, Jamison Olave, Nat
Borchers, Ned Grabavoy (Andy Williams 71), Javier Morales, Kyle Beckerman,
Will Johnson, Alvaro Saborío (Jean Alexandre 90), Fabian Espíndola (Robbie
Findley 78).

TOTAL SHOTS: 9 (Johnson 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 3 (3 tied with 1); FOULS: 9 (Espindola 3); OFFSIDE: 5; CORNER KICKS: 5; SAVES: Rimando 3; CAUTIONS: Espindola 75, Williams 80; EJECTIONS: None.

Referee: Baldomero Toledo
Referee’s Assistants: Bill Dittmar; Greg Barkey
4th Official: Ramon Hernandez
Attendance: 20,236 (Rio Tinto Stadium record)
Weather: Partly Cloudy-and-71-degrees

?All Statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial

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Rocky Mountain clash ends in dismal 1-1 draw

Posted on 26 September 2010 by Patrick McShane

It was another fascinating installment of the Rocky Mountain Cup Saturday night, as Real Salt Lake came back in added time to steal a 1-1 draw from the Colorado Rapids. It has been a contentious relationship between both rivals over the years, particularly last season as RSL eliminated Colorado’s playoff hopes on the final match of the season while simultaneously sealing their own playoff dreams. Add to the equation that many key RSL players used to ply their trade with the Rapids, and it makes every meeting between both teams personal and filled with bad blood.

Thanks to the sordid history between both clubs, matches are typically not very entertaining and often end up being a physical, scattered affair. Saturday night was no different, as neither team could get any sort of rhythm early in the match and both were trying to play chances over the top with the long ball. RSL in particular appeared to struggle with their tactics as they fielded a largely unconventional lineup of role players in order to rest their starters for their CONCACAF meeting between Toronto FC on Tuesday. This meant that usual starters Kyle Beckerman, Will Johnson, Alvaro Saborío, and Robbie Findley were all watching the match from the bench, while Javier Morales and Jamison Olave weren’t featured in the game day 18.

Because of the lack of cohesion between teammates, the match had little-to-no offensive production, with much of the match being played in the middle of the pitch. While RSL produced a couple of chances early on, it was Colorado that struck first with Conor Casey heading home the opening goal off of a brilliant cross from Kosuke Kimura. While the finish was class and Casey easily beat stand-in center defender Rauwshan McKenzie, the goal was completely against the run of play and surprised both the Rio Tinto fans and RSL. Noted RSL coach Jason Kreis after the match: “I’m pleased with everything except for 15 seconds in the first half when we gave away that goal. I thought that was a play completely against the run of play.”

Hoping that the infusion of typical starters would jumpstart a rally, Kreis inserted Beckerman, Saborío, and Johnson early in the second half. Though these substitutions produced a better looking display of soccer, both teams continued to struggle to create substantial chances in the final third. As regular time came to an end, it appeared that Colorado defender Marvell Wynne committed a blatant handball in the box. While referee Ramon Hernandez initially awarded the penalty kick to RSL, he later changed his call after consulting with his linesman and instead ruled a surprising drop ball. With the reversed call it felt like RSL’s lone chance to earn an underwhelming draw had passed, until Borchers came to the rescue with an unexpected goal off the back of his head to secure the 1-1 draw and the continuity of RSL’s undefeated home streak.

RSL will now turn their attention to a chaotic upcoming schedule, playing 6 matches in 18 days between MLS and CONCACAF Champions League play. While the draw to Colorado is disappointing, the possible positive outcome of resting so many starters could be actualized on Tuesday if RSL were to beat or tie Toronto FC and earn their way into the Championship Stage. “We’re going to put all our cards on the table for [the game in Toronto],” noted Kreis. “I feel like that is the one we have to get a result in to wrap up this Champions League stuff so that we can turn our focus to the Supporters Shield and the playoffs.”

REAL SALT LAKE (13-4-9, 48 pts.) v. COLORADO RAPIDS (10-7-8, 38 pts.)

Scoring Summary:
COL — Conor Casey 11 (Kosuke Kimura 1, Brian Mullan 1) 36
RSL — Nat Borchers 1 (Andy Williams 6) 93+

Misconduct Summary:
COL — Conor Casey (caution; Reckless Foul) 10
COL — Marvell Wynne (caution; Reckless Foul) 16
RSL — Pablo Campos (caution; Tactical Foul) 32
RSL — Fabian Espindola (caution; Dissent) 66
RSL — Collen Warner (caution; Dissent) 78
COL — Anthony Wallace (caution; Delaying a Restart) 82

Colorado Rapids — Matt Pickens, Kosuke Kimura, Marvell Wynne, Drew Moor, Anthony Wallace (Scott Palguta 89), Brian Mullan (Wells Thompson 63), Jeff Larentowicz, Pablo Mastroeni, Jamie Smith, Macoumba Kandji (Ross LaBauex 73), Conor Casey. ?

Real Salt Lake — Kyle Reynish, Tony Beltran, Rauwshan McKenzie, Nat Borchers, Chris Wingert, Andy Williams, Jean Alexandre (Kyle Beckerman 56), Collen Warner, Ned Grabavoy (Will Johnson 70), Pablo Campos (Alvaro Saborío 62), Fabian Espindola.

Referee: Ramon Hernandez?
Referee’s Assistants: Ian Anderson; Paul Scott?
4th Official: Yader Reyes?
Weather: Clear and 76 degrees / ?Attendance: 18,317

All Statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial

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RSL put out the Fire en route to MLS record

Posted on 18 September 2010 by Patrick McShane

Real Salt Lake made MLS history Saturday afternoon as they defeated the Chicago Fire 1-0 to set the longest home undefeated streak in league history at 23 matches. Fire defender Wilman Conde put in a catastrophic performance on the afternoon, earning an ejection right before half due to two yellow cards including the penalty that eventually led to the match winner from Álvaro Saborío. With the victory RSL continues to pressure the LA Galaxy and Columbus Crew for the Supporters’ Shield, as they are now tied with LA at 47 points and own a superior goal differential prior to the Galaxy’s match with DC United Saturday night.

With Chicago playing to keep their slim playoff hopes alive and RSL looking to break the undefeated home record, the match played as one would anticipate with both teams playing hard, physical soccer. Chicago forward Collins John was particularly formidable against the RSL backline, while midseason addition Freddie Ljungberg battled RSL captain and midfield leader Kyle Beckerman throughout the first half. There were a number of anxious moments due to this style of play, as a number of players appeared to pick up some knocks thanks to some tough challenges, including RSL’s Will Johnson and Saborío as well as Bratislave Ristic and Logan Pause for the Fire. Unfortunately, it was also this style of play that led to the Fire’s downfall, as Conde continued to hammer at RSL’s forwards and attackers at every opportunity – eventually leading to two cautions in rapid succession and his eventual ejection.

Despite the ejection and numerous knocked up players, Chicago defender C.J. Brown didn’t really see the match as being overly physical. “As far as the physical play goes, that’s just the game. I don’t think it was any worse than any other game that I have been in. There some plays here and there that some players got in on, but that’s mild compared to when it starts in the playoffs. It’s part of the game.”

As RSL near the end of the season, their third consecutive playoff birth and prepare to defend their MLS crown, it is critical that they find ways to win matches while still resting key players due to their busy CONCACAF Champions League schedule. Due to Chicago playing the entire second half down a man, RSL was able to control the match with little effort and sub out Ned Grabavoy and Saborío by the 64th minute as both players are nursing minor injuries. These substitutions allowed RSL to not only rest players, but also give important playing time to a variety of young players that they will be relying on over the next couple of weeks.

Chicago, on the other hand, appeared content to exit Rio Tinto Stadium quietly, with the exception of second half substitute Patrick Nyarko, who tormented RSL’s defense for the entire second half. His energy and skill completely changed the dynamic of Chicago’s attack and makes one wonder why he wasn’t involved from the opening whistle. With the loss, Chicago now find themselves farther behind in the MLS playoff race with only seven games remaining. That said, Fire coach Carlos de los Cobos still holds out hope that the team can still make the post season. “It’s definitely difficult now, but we still have seven matches left to play and that’s 21 points available,” notes de los Cobos. “We need to fight. We are losing points because we are not concentrating all the time… We have really good moments in all of our matches, but we are not taking advantage of this.”

RSL will maintain their busy schedule over the next week, continuing CONCACAF Champions League play Wednesday against Arabe Unido in Panama before meeting Rocky Mountain Cup rivals the Colorado Rapids at home next Saturday. Despite the chaotic schedule and the various injuries the team is currently facing, coach Jason Kreis still maintains that this RSL team can continue it’s hot form and again challenge for the MLS Cup. “[Last preseason] I really felt like this is the group I envisioned for a long time, playing the type of soccer they’re playing. This is the team I think we’ve been trying to build for a long time, and this is the team that should challenge for championships for quite a while.”

REAL SALT LAKE (13-4-8, pts.) v. CHICAGO FIRE (6-9-8, 26 pts.)

Scoring Summary:
RSL- Álvaro Saborío 9 (penalty kick) 47+

Misconduct Summary:
CHI — Wilman Conde (caution; Reckless Foul) 30
RSL — Kyle Beckerman (caution; Reckless Tackle) 33
CHI — Wilman Conde (caution; Tactical Foul) 46+
CHI — Wilman Conde (ejection; Second Caution) 46+

Real Salt Lake — Nick Rimando, Tony Beltran, Jamison Olave, Nat Borchers, Chris Wingert, Ned Grabavoy (Nelson Gonzalez 64), Kyle Beckerman, Andy Williams, Will Johnson, Robbie Findley (Paulo Araujo Jr. 76), Alvaro Saborío (Pablo Campos 63).

TOTAL SHOTS: 17 (Kyle Beckerman 5); SHOTS ON GOAL: 5 (Kyle Beckerman 2); FOULS: 11 (Pablo Campos, Chris Wingert 2); OFFSIDES: 0; CORNER KICKS: 5 (Andy Williams 4); SAVES: 0

Chicago Fire — Sean Johnson, Dasan Robinson, C.J. Brown, Wilman Conde, Gonzalo Segares, Bratislav Ristic, Freddie Ljungberg (Calen Carr 60), Logan Pause, Marco Pappa (Mike Banner 85), Collins John (Patrick Nyarko 46), Nery Castillo.

TOTAL SHOTS: 5 (5 players with 1); SHOTS ON GOAL: 0; FOULS: 12 (Bratislav Ristic 3); OFFSIDES: 2 (Nery Castillo, Collins John 1); CORNER KICKS: 2 (Nery Castillo 2); SAVES: 4 (Sean Johnson 4)

Referee: Jorge Gonzalez
Referee’s Assistants: Adam Garner, James Conlee
4th Official: Tyler Ploeger
Attendance: 14,449 / Weather: Clear and 85 degrees

All Statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial

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Defense on display as RSL beat Red Bulls 1-0

Posted on 05 September 2010 by Patrick McShane

Real Salt Lake tied the longest home-undefeated streak in Major League Soccer history on Saturday night as they dispatched the newly upgraded New York Red Bulls 1-0. Heading into the match one would assume that it would be a high-powered offensive affair due to New York’s striker tandem of Juan Pablo Angel and newly acquired Thierry Henry against RSL’s league-leading offense that has tallied 35 goals this season. In the end, however, it was the defenses of both teams that stole the show, with the lone goal coming early in the match off of a Fabian Espíndola slow roller past onrushing keeper Greg Sutton in the 4th minute.

With the victory RSL not only equaled the undefeated home record, but they also set a new team record for single-season points (43), wins (12), and shutouts (11), with 7 league matches still remaining this season. Additionally, RSL now sit only 3 points behind the LA Galaxy and 1 point behind the Columbus Crew in the race for the Supporters’ Shield. Coach Jason Kreis echoed the teams focus on breaking records and continuing to win at home. “I think in our next match we will be gangbusters going to break the record. It is important to us.”

Despite missing newly acquired DP Rafael Marquez, New York still posed a frightening attack with Angel, Henry, and newcomer of the year candidate Joel Lindpere feeding from the wings. However, it appeared throughout the match that the New York needed Marquez more than they realized as their midfield struggled to connect passes to their forwards, essentially nullifying Henry’s impact on the match. Noted Henry after the match: “I don’t know if you saw in the first half, but we played long ball, which is not the way the game should be played. You saw the way that Salt Lake, they pass the ball on the ground. I think Rafa not being here was a bit difficult for us because he has a great vision and can calm people down, so we definitely missed him today.”

While RSL deserved the victory, it did take the stellar play of keeper Nick Rimando, stout defense from RSL’s entire back line, and some luck thanks to some clearances off of the goal line from Kyle Beckerman & Andy Williams. Seeing that New York has perpetually been a thorn in RSL’s side, particularly at Ro Tinto Stadium, it is certain that the players and coaches would be happy to escape with a 1-0 victory and continue their push to the post season.

REAL SALT LAKE (12-4-7, 43 pts.) v. NEW YORK RED BULLS (11-8-4, 37 pts.)

Scoring Summary:
RSL — Fabian Espíndola 6 (Kyle Beckerman 3, Javier Morales 7) 4

Misconduct Summary:
NY — Tony Tchani (caution; Tactical Foul) 18
NY — Danleigh Borman (caution; Tactical Foul) 38
RSL — Jamison Olave (caution; Tactical Foul) 39
NY — Seth Stammler (caution; Tactical Foul) 74

New York Red Bulls — Greg Sutton, Chris Albright (Salou Ibrahim 86), Carlos Mendes, Tim Ream, Danleigh Borman, Macoumba Kandji (Sinisa Ubiparipovic 76), Seth Stammler, Tony Tchani, Joel Lindpere, Thierry Henry, Juan Pablo Angel.

Real Salt Lake — Nick Rimando; Robbie Russell, Jamison Olave, Nat Borchers, Chris Wingert; Andy Williams, Kyle Beckerman, Javier Morales, Ned Grabavoy; Robbie Findley (Nelson Gonzalez 75), Fabian Espíndola (Pablo Campos 50).

Referee: Ricardo Salazar?
Referee’s Assistants: Kermit Quisenberry; Eric Boria?
4th Official: Paul Ward?
Attendance: 19,115 / Weather: Clear and 91 degrees

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Crew crumble 2-0 to rival RSL

Posted on 15 August 2010 by Patrick McShane

Real Salt Lake continued their scintillating play at home Saturday as the dispatched the Columbus Crew 2-0 to extend their home undefeated streak to 21 matches, just one away from the league record set by the Crew in the 2008-2009 season. With an upcoming CONCACAF Champions League match at home versus Arabe Unido of Panama, RSL were able to not only secure a vital victory, but also rest some of their key players in the process.

Fueled by media reports throughout the week noting the growing tension between the two squads, the 16,906 fans that came to see a physical grudge match between two top tier teams were not let down. Recently there have been stories citing a number of Crew players who made off-handed comments about the legitimacy of RSL’s championship run last season, after the unheralded Salt Lake squad took a losing record into the playoffs and dominated the favored Crew both home and away en route to a magical run to win the MLS Cup. With both teams currently having the second and third best records in MLS, it was not only a match filled with emotion but a vital contest as they are still in the running for the Supporters’ Shield.

From the opening minute both teams were trying to establish some dominance, with referee Jorge Gonzalez having to separate RSL’s Jamison Olave from Crew forward Steven Lenhart in the first five minutes of play. While the match had a surprisingly low number of cautions, with Frankie Hejduk earning the lone yellow card, this early battle set a theme for the entire match that was relentless for the entire 90 minutes.

Scoring a paltry single goal mid-week at Philadelphia, RSL were hoping to get on the score sheet early in order to set Columbus on their heals. Thankfully for the RSL coaching staff, midfielder Javier Morales answered that call as he blasted home RSL’s first goal less than 12 minutes into the match, putting RSL in the driver’s seat and on their way to a comfortable victory. Taking a short corner from Fabian Espíndola, Morales was able to run freely just outside of the Crew’s box as he lashed a rocket through traffic to the right post. Keeper Will Hesmer appeared lost on the play as Danny O’Rourke didn’t close down on the creative midfielder and he had far too much time to pick his placement for the shot.

While the Crew appeared to be more organized and poised in the second half, the match never really felt out of RSL’s control and it seemed like only a matter of time until the lead was extended. This potential was eventually fulfilled in the 60th minute after Ned Grabavoy was mugged from behind just outside of the box. It was again another perfect opportunity for Morales to excel, and he didn’t let fans down. As the positioning of the ball seemed a little too close for a shot over the Crew wall, Morales keenly powered the ball low and through the wall to the right, well beyond the reach of Hesmer.

Both teams now face a busy week as they play Wednesday night in the CONCACAF Champions League, with RSL playing their fourth match in 12 days. Thanks to the dominating performance, Morales only logged 63 minutes of play and standout newcomer Álvaro Saborío was able to rest the entire match. While it may be easy to assume that the players are tired and may not be able to get energized for Wednesday’s match, coach Jason Kreis feels that he won’t have a hard time finding players interested in competing. “Talking to quite a few of the guys last week, we made the decision to rest a bunch of them… I thought it was going to be a little bit of a sales job for me to tell them how important this tournament is for our club. As has happened many times before, my players made me very pleased because they were all saying how important it was to them.”

The match kicks off this Wednesday at 8:00 pm MST and can be seen on Fox Soccer Channel.

REAL SALT LAKE (11-4-6, 39 pts.) v. COLUMBUS CREW (11-5-4, 37 pts.)

Scoring Summary:
RSL — Javier Morales 5 (Fabian Espíndola 2) 11?
RSL — Javier Morales 6 (unassisted) 60

Misconduct Summary:
CLB — Frankie Hejduk (caution; Reckless Tackle) 48

Columbus Crew — William Hesmer, Frankie Hejduk (Jason Garey 81), Eric Brunner, Chad Marshall, Shaun Francis, Emilio Renteria (Leandre Griffit 56), Adam Moffat, Danny O’Rourke, Emmanuel Ekpo, Steven Lenhart, Guillermo Barros Schelotto (Dilly Duka 75).

Real Salt Lake — Nick Rimando, Robbie Russell, Nat Borchers, Jamison Olave, Tony Beltran, Ned Grabavoy (Nelson Gonzalez 82), Kyle Beckerman, Javier Morales (Andy Williams 63), Will Johnson, Robbie Findley (Pablo Campos 72), Fabian Espindola.

Referee: Jorge Gonzalez?
Referee’s Assistants: Craig Lowry; Ian Anderson?
4th Official: Yader Reyes?
?Attendance: 16,906

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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.)

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 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.)

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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