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Early afternoon delight; RSL stroll past the Union

Posted on 08 May 2010 by Patrick McShane

For the second week in a row Real Salt Lake faced an Eastern Conference foe at home, and for the second week they have emerged victorious. This week’s victim came in the form of expansion side Philadelphia Union who, despite looking the better team at times in the first half, coughed up possession in route to a disappointing 3-0 defeat. It was in particular a difficult afternoon for Union keeper Chris Seitz as he spent his formative years in MLS with RSL as a backup to MLS Cup hero Nick Rimando.

While the match ended with an inflated score line, the first half was quite a different story with chances coming few and far between. Both teams found it difficult to string together passes and much of the offensive buildup ended up with disappointment. In fact, it could be argued that one of the best chances early on came to the Union when Rimando was casual with the ball and turned the ball over to young rookie Jack McInerney with the goal completely open from 25 yards out. However, McInerney took too much time lining up his strike, giving RSL defender Jamison Olave time to save the day with a sliding block.

Noted RSL coach Jason Kreis after the match: “I really was displeased with our first half. I really felt like Philadelphia was the better team. We were very fortunate to have a lead at all. If the score would have been what I thought it should have been it probably would have been 3-1, us down; that doesn’t make me happy at all.”

Just minutes later it was the Union’s turn to make an unforced error, and unfortunately RSL would capitalize. While under minimal pressure, right back Christian Arrieta made a casual back pass to no one, leaving RSL forward Álvaro Saborío free to run at Seitz. While two Union defenders recovered quickly and blocked Saborío’s initial attempt, the ball fell perfectly to captain Kyle Beckerman who was able to slot the ball past Seitz for the opening tally.

Though striker Robbie Findley had to be replaced before half due to an injured back, RSL came out inspired for the final 45 minutes. Olave scored for the second consecutive match when Seitz couldn’t handle a free kick from Javier Morales on the left wing, spilling the ball right to Olave in front of goal for the tap in. Saborío made up for his blown chance early in the match and headed home RSL’s third score of the afternoon off of a beautiful run of play between him and substitute Pablo Campos.

RSL will complete their three game home stand on short rest when they line up against the Houston Dynamo this coming Thursday. It will be a fantastic opportunity to get revenge for an early season loss to Houston where RSL saw an early lead disappear in matter of minutes thanks to rapid-fire penalty calls against Olave. Due to the short turnaround and various injuries, there is a good chance that both squads will feature very different lineups than those that played today. With the league just a couple weeks away from a busy pre-World Cup schedule, RSL must continue to earn results at home in order to remain in the Western Conference hunt.


REAL SALT LAKE (3-3-1, 10 pts.) v. PHILADELPHIA UNION (1-5-0, 3 pts.)
DATE: May 8, 2010 — Rio Tinto Stadium

Scoring Summary:
RSL — Kyle Beckerman 2 (unassisted) 27
RSL — Jamison Olave 2 (Javier Morales 2) 51
RSL — Álvaro Saborío 2 (Pablo Campos 1) 70

Real Salt Lake — Nick Rimando, Tony Beltran, Jamison Olave (Rauwshan McKenzie 73), Nat Borchers, Chris Wingert, Andy Williams (Collen Warner 79), Kyle Beckerman, Javier Morales, Will Johnson, Álvaro Saborío, Robbie Findley (Pablo Campos 38).

Philadelphia Union — Chris Seitz, Danny Califf, Cristian Arrieta, Michael Orozco, Jordan Harvey, Kyle Nakazawa, Fred, Andrew Jacobson (Shea Salinas 53), Roger Torres (Nick Zimmerman 71), Alejandro Moreno, Jack McInerney (Danny Mwanga 59).

Misconduct Summary:
RSL — Andy Williams (caution; Tactical Foul) 17
RSL — Kyle Beckerman (caution; Tactical Foul) 41
PHI — Cristian Arrieta (caution; Tactical Foul) 50
RSL — Nat Borchers (caution; Tactical Foul) 81

Referee: Hilario Grajeda
Referee’s Assistants: George Gansner; Cameron Blair
4th Official: Tyler Ploeger
Attendance: 14,224 / Weather: Cloudy-and-63-degrees

All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial

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The downward spiral continues for Real Salt Lake

Posted on 17 May 2009 by Patrick McShane

It was another evening of disappointment for RSL as they lost their first match at home this season, falling 2-0 to the Kansas City Wizards. It took two clinical finishes from striker Josh Wolff to knock RSL out of the match and plummet the team and supporters spirits into the basement. It was RSL’s second straight match without a goal and another in a string of overall lethargic performances for a team many thought would be challenging for the western conference crown.

Even RSL coach Jason Kreis was at a loss for words at the end of the match, noting, “I think the effort was there, we just weren’t good enough. Just too many players had bad nights tonight. Bad nights – not average nights, not mediocre nights, but bad nights.”

In the early stages of the match, it didn’t seem like RSL was bound to have a squad of players with bad nights. RSL’s midfield controlled the attack and continued to win the ball and push forward. However, it was their sloppy play and poor possession in the final third that doomed them all evening and led to the Wizard’s first goal.

After a number of defensive miscues, RSL keeper Chris Seitz made a miraculous save against a Davy Arnaud blast and RSL were on the counter attack. Unfortunately, the Wizards were able to gather their defense and Jack Jewsbury forced Chris Wingert into a sloppy turnover. Quickly countering, Jewsbury launched a ball over the top of RSL’s sleeping defenders and found Wolff full sprint on his way to goal. There was little Seitz could do this time and the sellout crowd of 19,340 at Rio Tinto stadium were stunned silent as Wolff celebrated his tap-in goal.

Despite playing from behind, RSL tried to mount more of an attack and created a number of chances, nearly scoring off of a corner kick. After Robbie Russell forced Wiz keeper Kevin Hartman to make a diving save, Kyle Beckerman hit a snap-header towards goal on the ensuing corner. However, Hartman again was up to the task, knocking the ball down to be cleared off the line by a teammate.

Hartman easily deserves Man of the Match recognition as he continued to handle a number of blasts late in the match and never seemed overwhelmed as RSL pushed forward for a goal. “When he has to make a save, he does. Kevin’s been very good all season long. It was another solid performance from one of the League’s best goalkeepers,” praised Wiz coach Curt Onalfo after the match.

Just under 25 minutes from the end of the match, the Wiz slammed the door shut on RSL’s hope of equalizing, as Wolff scored his second goal of the day by beating defender Jamison Olave to a perfect pass from Michael Harrington and easily slotted the ball home. Olave collided with Seitz during the play, causing an injury to Seitz and adding insult to the second goal.

Striker Luis Miguel Escalada came on minutes later to try and revitalize RSL’s stagnant attack, but the damage was already done and both his and Fabian Espindola’s creative strikes on goal were not enough to get by Hartman and bring RSL back into the match.

RSL has a lot of room to improve as they prepare to travel to DC United next week. It is bound to be a week full of hard work in training, and Kreis is hoping that the players join him as he searches for answers. “I’m looking for answers of myself, and I hope that all the players are doing that as well.”

Kansas City Wizards (4-4-2) vs. Real Salt Lake (3-5-1)
May 16, 2009 — Rio Tinto Stadium

Scoring Summary:
KC — Josh Wolff 5 (Jack Jewsbury 4) 20
KC — Josh Wolff 6 (Michael Harrington 2) 67

Kansas City Wizards — Kevin Hartman, Lance Watson (Michael Harrington 65), Jimmy Conrad, Aaron Hohlbein, Matt Besler, Davy Arnaud, Santiago Hirsig, Jack Jewsbury, Roger Espinoza (Herculez Gomez 61), Claudio Lopez (Michael Kraus 89), Josh Wolff.

Real Salt Lake — Chris Seitz, Robbie Russell, Nat Borchers, Jamison Olave, Chris Wingert (Andy Williams 76), Clint Mathis, Kyle Beckerman, Javier Morales, Will Johnson, Robbie Findley (Luis Miguel Escalada 76), Yura Movsisyan (Fabian Espindola 63).

Misconduct Summary:
KC — Roger Espinoza (caution; Reckless Tackle) 22
KC — Matt Besler (caution; Delaying a Restart) 24
KC — Davy Arnaud (caution; Reckless Foul) 40
RSL — Will Johnson (caution; Reckless Foul) 73
RSL — Robbie Russell (caution; Reckless Foul) 89

Referee: Yader Reyes
Referee’s Assistants: Fabio Tovar; Paul Scott
4th official: Kevin Stott
Attendance: 19,340?weather: Sunny -and- 70 degrees

Photo Gallery


Seitz – I just can’t decide how I feel about Seitz’s performance during Nick Rimando’s absence. On one hand, Seitz was up to the task against some amazing crosses and strikes into the box, and yet I just felt like his positioning was suspect leading to dangerous situations. Rimando should be ready to play again in the next week and Seitz appeared to be injured late in the match, so it will be interesting to see what who coaching staff name as starter.

Russell – Russell has a great ability to get forward on attack while remaining viable on defense. That said – some of his shots on goal were out of the run of play and poorly taken.

Wingert – How long is it going to take for Wingert’s poor play to receive more attention in the media? It was his casual giveaway on attack that led to Wolfe’s first goal and he seems to be lacking an edge to his game.

Borchers – Nat had an okay match and shares equal blame with Olave & Russell for Wolff’s first goal. That said; it’s hard to point the finger at Nat for RSL’s poor defense play in recent weeks.

Olave – Olave was lucky to escape the match without a yellow card as he was involved with a number of physical altercations. It was probably his worst match of the season for RSL as he was to blame for the second goal due to poor man marking.

Beckerman – I’ve been very unimpressed with Beckerman over the past couple of weeks. For being the captain and emotional leader of the team he just hasn’t stepped up when the team needs him and just seems a step off.

Mathis – Mathis was again all over the pitch and involved in a lot of the limited positive play. He’s one of the only players that can’t be blamed for RSL’s poor play over the past couple of weeks.

Johnson – At the start of the season many had Johnson tabbed as a potential all-star and breakout player. 10 games in and Johnson has done little to stand out and doesn’t seem to be playing at the same level he was late last season.

Morales – Didn’t do enough to stand out in terms of assists or goals, but did an okay job trying to structure a confused and overmatched RSL attack.

Findley & Movsisyan – I think it’s time for a change of scenery up top for RSL. Movsisyan is lacking confidence right now and Findley seems to be running his pants off alone while in desperate hopes of latching on to long balls over the top. It’s just not working right now and to break out of this slump it may require a different approach.

Espindola & Escalada – Plain and simple: these two players need to start next week. The attack didn’t look dangerous until they were subbed in together and they both added a bite that RSL have been missing for weeks. Maybe the best way to get this squad back in form is to make them fight for their chance to play instead of gifting starting minutes every week.

Williams – Didn’t really see any minutes until the match was well out of reach.

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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).


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


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.

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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Reds hope to snap slump in Utah

Posted on 28 July 2008 by Scott Ferguson

Toronto FC will travel to Salt Lake on Monday night, hoping to steal three points from the same ground they took their first ever away win last season.

Winless in nine matches (including friendlies and Canadian Championship results), Toronto are in danger of seeing the wheels come off their playoff dreams. Last year, a 2-1 win at Rice-Eccles Stadium on Independence Day was enough to give hope to the Reds, but poor away form through the rest of the campaign doomed the Canadian club to last place in the league.

Dismal road form has been a thorn in the side of John Carver’s men in 2008 once again, having claimed just one win from seven trips. That performance, a 3-2 victory over Los Angeles in April, gave rise to hopes that Toronto may have turned around their away jinx, but recent results have shown that a huge gap remains between the club’s away performances and their play with BMO Field’s notoriously loyal fans behind them.

Real Salt Lake are flying high in just their fourth season, sitting atop the Western Conference, although the split table can be deceiving given the relative poor play of the sides from the West this season. RSL sit just two points up from Toronto in the overall standings with two games in hand, but the Reds are mired in fourth in the East and hovering around the playoff zone.

Carver will miss Maurice Edu and Marvell Wynne, both a part of the United States’ Olympic team (along with RSL’s Chris Seitz) in China. Rumours persist that American striker Chad Barrett will join the club from Chicago as part of the deal that sees Toronto give up their right to acquire veteran hitman Brian McBride, but the forward is unlikely to join up with the squad until after the RSL trip.

Todd Dunivant has been placed on the season-ending injury list in a move that will free up salary cap space for Barrett. Fan favourite Danny Dichio is still out with a concussion; while Kevin Harmse, one of Wynne’s natural replacements at right back, may be unable to reach fitness with a knee problem. Youngster Nana-Attakora Gyan or centerback Marco Vélez may fill in on the right side of defense.

Olivier Tébily is listed as questionable for tonight’s game with an ankle injury, but rumours on fan sites persist that the French defender has returned to Europe, citing an inability to settle in Toronto. Whether he appears on the bench with the Reds in Salt Lake may be telling.

Countryman Laurent Robert, a friend of Tébily who helped him to adjust to life in Canada, is likely to start in Utah but will have to be wary of his discipline. One more yellow card will see the left winger miss TFC’s next match.

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