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Quick and Payneless – 2 losses in 2 for Canadian MLS teams

Posted on 08 September 2013 by Scott Ferguson

Two of the three Canadian MLS teams were in action away from home on Saturday, but neither could take anything from their respective road trips. Vancouver’s playoff hopes are looking like a distant memory after a 3-1 collapse in Dallas, while Toronto fell 2-0 at Portland Timbers in the first game of the post-Kevin Payne era.

In Dallas, Vancouver took an early lead through Daigo Kobayashi, who was excelling in an attacking midfield role that had finally been tailored for him. Dallas came back through Jevaugh Watson’s long-range strike before half-time, and late in the game Mauro Diaz’s volley looked to have sealed it after some work from Eric Hassli in the build-up. While each of Dallas’ were highlight-reel goals, some fans might be questioning goalkeeper David Ousted on all three.

The goal of the night was to come, though, when Jair Benítez scored a 50-yard wonder strike that hit the top corner. Take a look for yourself:

Jair Benítez golazo

Both Vancouver and Portland are part of seven or eight teams in the Western Conference with a realistic shot at the five playoff places, which meant Toronto could do their Canadian cousins a favour with a point or three at Jeld-Wen Field later on.

The Timbers started stronger, though, and Khalif Alhassan took advantage of a short clearance after a Timbers set-piece to make it 1-0 before half-time. Toronto skipper Steven Caldwell as all over the defensive third as usual, and not for the first time this season he was dangerously close to conceding a penalty after blocking a shot with his hand.

If Caldwell is a model of experience for the Reds, it’s much-needed, as it was miscontrol from defensive partner Gale Agbossoumonde that led to Portland’s second goal. Rodney Wallace was able to run clear and finish past ex-teammate Joe Bendik – the goalkeeper was traded for his opposing number tonight, Miloš Koci?, in the off-season.

The next scorer was born in Toronto, but it wasn’t a good thing for the Reds. It was Portland captain Will Johnson who smashed home to make it 3-0.

Diego Valeri finished it off with a tap-in in stoppage time to make it four and pad the team’s goal differential as they climb into the playoff spots.

One man who was conspicuously absent for Toronto was new signing Maximiliano Urruti – with nothing left to play for this season, there has to be a reason for not bedding in the new man for 2014, whether he’s completely match-fit or not. Head coach Ryan Nelsen has been assured that he won’t be part of the culls at BMO Field in 2013, but Urruti may be the key to closing out the season with some respectability – and impressing Nelsen’s new bosses, whoever they might end up being.

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RSL roar back for 4-2 win

Posted on 26 July 2009 by Patrick McShane

It was a night of fireworks on and off the pitch as Real Salt Lake roared back from a 2-0 halftime deficit to shock an upstart FC Dallas squad with a 4-2 victory. It was the first time in RSL history that the team has come back from a two goal deficit to win, and the second consecutive match were points were earned thanks to an own-goal in the 88th minute. Two goals from want away striker Yura Movsisyan combined with a Robbie Findley PK helped ease RSL to victory after looking lackluster and apathetic in the first half.

Midfielder Will Johnson was back in the lineup after missing a number of matches due to Gold Cup duty and striker Fabian Espindola started on the left after serving a one-match suspension for a red card earned against the San Jose Earthquakes. Both players were welcome additions to the squad that seems to have a revolving door of lineups recently due to injuries, suspensions, and international call-ups. With the MLS All-Star match being hosted at Rio Tinto Stadium next Wednesday, RSL were particularly keen on jump-starting their playoff hopes with a win. Unfortunately for the 18,822 fans in attendance, the first 45 minutes looked like it was destined for disappointment as an inspired Dallas squad, comprised of a number of former RSL players, counterattacked and ran all over the Salt Lake’s defense.

It was their tenacity and fight that helped Dallas take the lead after just 13 minutes when former RSL bad-boy Jeff Cunningham battled an indecisive Johnson for the ball deep in the final third. While Cunningham’s shot lacked pace, it still found a way into the net past a surprised Nick Rimando and silenced the near-capacity stadium. It was Cunningham’s 108th career goal, tying him with former teammate and current RSL coach, Jason Kreis, for third on the all-time MLS scoring list.

Rather than responding with more energy in hopes of taking back the match, RSL appeared to be in shock and continued to lose possession in the midfield. Just 8 minutes later, RSL-killer Dave van den Bergh continued his hot streak at Rio Tinto Stadium, finishing off a beautiful build up of a play between Cunningham and David Ferreira to give Dallas the 2-0 lead. While it was van den Bergh’s third career goal in Rio Tinto stadium, it was his of the season and his first for Dallas.

Fortunately for the supporters it was a tale of two halves as RSL came out on fire in the second. Yura Movsisyan, originally slated to start until he picked up an injury in training, replaced the ineffective Ned Grabavoy and immediately made his presence known. Movsisyan terrorized the Dallas backline the entire 45 minutes, running on to quick passes over the top and surprisingly finishing with calm poise. It took just 10 minutes into the half for him to break on a Javier Morales through ball and slot the ball past Ray Burse to the delight of the home crowd.

The next 20 minutes were harrowing for both squads, as Dallas began to bunker back and RSL continued to press forward. Though RSL did their fare share to put the match out of reach with their eventual goal-scoring outburst, it was actually a momentum-crushing penalty save by Rimando on Cunningham that really ignited the comeback. After earning a penalty due to Chris Wingert’s handball while in the wall on a free kick, Cunningham was visibly anxious to put Dallas back in the match as well as pass Kreis with 109 goals.

However, Rimando guessed the correct direction and dove to the left to make an inspiring grab. The crowd, as well as Kreis, erupted as one could sense the end result. It was Rimando’s second penalty save of the season in three attempts and changed the entire dynamic of the match. Noted Rimando: “It was emotional during halftime. We had a team meeting, and to see our team turn it around from giving up two goals to coming back and scoring four goals was very emotional for me, especially after making that (penalty kick) save.”

While Espindola had an inconsistent match overall, it was his crosses on the left wing throughout the second half that led to the tying penalty kick from Findley and the unexpected own goal off of Daniel Torres that gave RSL the lead for good. Movsisyan finished off the match in the dying minutes of added time with another break on goal past Torres and coolly slotted the ball to the right past Burse, ending the comeback and leaving the fans satisfied.

With the win, RSL maintained contention in the Western Conference for a playoff spot while possibly building confidence to overcome potential setbacks. As Jason Kreis noted after the match, “I think that that’s the type of game that could change our season and that will be proven by what we do next week and in the coming weeks.”

Photo Gallery

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RSL PLAYER ASSESSMENTS

Rimando – Went from goat to hero. It was shocking to see Cunningham’s first effort totally stone Rimando as it rolled to goal, but Rimando more than made up for it with his late penalty save. It was Rimando’s 13th save on 42 PK’s in his career.

Russell – Disappointing to see him go down in the first 10 minutes with a right hip flexor strain. After the match coach Jason Kreis seemed to fear a long injury layoff for Russell. If this fear is true, than RSL might want to consider bringing back recently loaned out defender David Horst as they had absolutely no defensive subs after Beltran replaced Russell.

Wingert – Horrible. Bad passes, sloppy under pressure, and not composed in the wall leading to the handball for Cunningham’ s late PK attempt. Why he got the start over Beltran is beyond me as he has been completely out of synch all season long.

Olave – Still continues to make fans nervous with his casual demeanor while under pressure, but he was easily the best defender overall for RSL. If it wasn’t for his ejections and hot temper, one could easily hear his name bantered about as an all-star snub.

Borchers – Not a great match for Nat. Though it was Johnson’s giveaway that let to the first goal, Nat didn’t appear up to the task. Fortunately for the fans performances like this from Nat don’t come around too often.

Grabavoy – Deserved to be taken off at half. While he’s performed admirably in Beckerman’s absence, this match highlighted just how important Beckerman really is. Ned was bodied off the ball all match long by the bigger van den Bergh and seemed lost on attack. He is a great sub for this team, not a starter.

Morales – More flashes of brilliance for Javi as he was just named to his first all-star match. He continues to improve from his slow start early this season and seems poised to lead RSL to the playoffs.

Johnson – Was named as a surprise replacement to injured Shalrie Joseph on the all-star squad in the middle of the match. Despite the giveaway that led to the first goal, Johnson added a bite to the midfield that has been missing from RSL for a couple of weeks.

Mathis – Didn’t stand out for the right or wrong reasons. Just put in another consistent effort.

Findley – Combined for a number of chances with Espindola early on and seemed to be comfortable burning Benitez on the right all match long. I could see RSL relying heavily on Findley over the next couple of weeks as they possibly phase out
Movsisyan due to his upcoming move overseas.

Espindola – So much skill and potential, just no killer instinct this season. I’m not sure if it’s the fact that he’s being asked to play a different role in the 4-3-3 formation than what suits his attacking style, but he has been brilliant up to the point of creating scoring opportunities.

SUBS
Beltran – Beltran should have started over Wingert. He’s been fearless over the past couple of weeks and continues to thrive in the new formation. With Russell potentially out for a while, I could see Beltran starting the rest of the season.

Movsisyan – An absolute game changer. There were questions as to whether or not he would still put forth effort as he is already slated for his move to Denmark at the close of the MLS season. However, after last night all of those questions should be put to rest as he single-handedly put RSL on his back and led them to victory.

MATCH FACTS

FC Dallas (4-9-5) vs. Real Salt Lake (6-7-5)
July 24, 2009 — Rio Tinto Stadium

Scoring Summary:
DAL — Jeff Cunningham 4 (unassisted) 13
DAL — Dave van den Bergh 1 (Jeff Cunningham 3, David Ferreira 3) 21
RSL — Yuri Movsisyan 5 (Javier Morales 5) 55
RSL — Robbie Findley 7 (penalty kick) 62
RSL — Own Goal (Daniel Torres) 88
RSL — Yura Movsisyan 6 (unassisted) 93+

FC Dallas — Ray Burse, Drew Moor, George John (Daniel Torres 46), Pablo Ricchetti, Jair Benitez, Atiba Harris, David Ferreira, Dax McCarty, Andre Rocha (Brek Shea 91+), Dave van den Bergh, Jeff Cunningham.

Real Salt Lake — Nick Rimando, Robbie Russell (Tony Beltran 10), Nat Borchers, Jamison Olave, Chris Wingert, Ned Grabavoy (Yura Movsisyan 46), Javier Morales, Will Johnson, Clint Mathis (Andy Williams 91+), Robbie Findley, Fabian Espindola.

Misconduct Summary:
RSL — Fabian Espindola (caution; Reckless Foul) 29
RSL — Nat Borchers (caution; Tactical Foul) 35
DAL — Dave van den Bergh (caution; Unsporting Behavior) 61
DAL — Ray Burse (caution; Unsporting Behavior) 62
RSL — Will Johnson (caution; Tactical Foul) 72
RSL – Jason Kreis (BENCH) (ejection; Abusive Language) 73
RSL — Jamison Olave (caution; Tactical Foul) 77
DAL — Pablo Ricchetti (caution; Reckless Tackle) 78
DAL — Drew Moor (ejection; Violent Conduct) 95+

Referee: Ricardo Salazar
Referee’s Assistants: Fabio Tovar; Frank Anderson
4th official: Tyler Ploeger
Attendance: 18,822 / Weather: Partly Cloudy -and- 93 degrees

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