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Streaking RSL dismantle the Wizards for fifth straight win

Posted on 31 May 2010 by Patrick McShane

Real Salt Lake extended their win streak Saturday to a franchise-best five games after dispatching the Kansas City Wizards 4-1 in a hotly contested affair. While RSL jumped off to an early lead after a pair of goals by Fabian Espíndola and Álvaro Saborío, the Wizards were able to capitalize on RSL’s occasional sloppy play to pull a goal back just before half. Inspired by 15,588 raucous fans at Rio Tinto Stadium, RSL controlled the second half and finished the match off late thanks to a Davy Arnaud ejection and goals from Robbie Russell and Ned Grabavoy.

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Action from the match ©Julie Harper/ASN

The match had a bright and confident feel for the home side early as RSL dominated much of the play. Espíndola and Saborío continued to nurture their growing partnership up top for RSL while combining with midfield maestro Javier Morales for a number of attacking runs in the first 20 minutes.

“I think that they have a good relationship,” noted coach Jason Kreis after the match. “I think they both look for each other and run off each other very well, and when you include Javier [Morales] in that triangle you see some really nice combination from those three players.”

While the Wizards defense did a decent job managing the pressure early on, RSL finally earned a breakthrough in the 31st minute when midfielder Andy Williams found himself open with yards of space in front of goal. Rather than taking the shot on goal, Williams drew three defenders to him before laying off to a wide-open Espíndola for a low, driven shot across keeper Jimmy Nielsen for the opening goal.

Espíndola was in fine form all evening, torching the Wizards backline while earning a number of chances for the home side. This effort was again repaid just minutes after the opening tally when Espíndola was sprung open on the left wing by Morales for an uncontested run at goal. Rather than launch a cross with his preferred left foot, Espíndola cut the ball into the middle a tried to chip Nielsen with his right foot. Though Nielsen was able to tip the ball, he wasn’t able to get complete control and spilled the ball behind him for Saborío to body home for his team-leading fifth goal.

While it seemed the match was trending towards a blowout, the Wizards produced a moment of magic just before half when Arnaud surprised a needlessly casual Nat Borchers right in front of goal for an interception. His speed and momentum paid off, as he was able to quickly place a nice pass across goal for Josh Wolff to slot home. Though the Wizards deserved the goal thanks to their energy and fight, one had to feel they didn’t deserve to be in the match at half as RSL were consistently the more organized and better team.

The second half played much like the beginning of the match, with RSL creating numerous chances and drawing repeated fouls against the Wizards. Arnaud, in particular, appeared furious at one of the linesman throughout the second half, screaming and arguing even when calls went the Wizards way. This tension eventually came to a head in the 82nd minute when Arnaud verbally challenged the referee after defender Matt Besler was called for a foul on Morales. Having earned a first caution just minutes earlier, Arnaud was shown his second yellow for dissent and was given an early trip to the showers.

RSL were able to easily close out the match after Arnaud’s ejection. Morales nearly scored on the ensuing free kick for the foul on Besler, but Nielsen was up to the task with a stunning foot save. Unfortunately for the Wizards, Russell was in position to slam the ball home after Nielsen’s save and the match seemed well out of reach for an undermanned Wizards side. The final nail in the coffin came in added time when Grabavoy intercepted a horrible back pass from substitute Graham Zusi to blow by Besler for beautiful, calm goal to the right of Nielsen. It was the first goal for both Russell and Grabavoy in a RSL kit, bringing the total number of players who have scored for RSL this season to a shocking 11 different players.

The next 10 days yield a rollercoaster ride for RSL, who will face D.C. United two times in four days and close out their pre World Cup schedule with a rematch against league leaders LA Galaxy. Their trip to Washington D.C. this week brings particular intrigue with it as Wednesday’s match is apart of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup play, followed by a trip to the White House to meet with President Barack Obama on Friday before meeting United again on Saturday for league action.

While RSL have built a deep squad this season to lesson the grind of MLS and Champion’s League play, they currently find themselves in a bind with Williams and defender Chris Wingert picking up hamstring injuries Saturday. These injuries coupled with the absence of midfielders Kyle Beckerman and Nelson González make the next week intriguing from a personnel standpoint for Kreis and RSL. RSL can only hope that they can overcome these interruptions and continue their exciting team play and stunning offensive production en route to an even longer win streak.

MATCH FACTS
REAL SALT LAKE (6-3-1, 19 pts.) v. KANSAS CITY WIZARDS (2-5-2, 8 pts.)
DATE: Saturday, May 29, 2010 — Rio Tinto Stadium

Scoring Summary:
RSL — Fabian Espíndola 3 (Andy Williams 3) 31
RSL — Alvaro Saborío 5 (unassisted) 34
KC — Josh Wolff 1 (Davy Arnaud 1) 42
RSL — Robbie Russell 1 (unassisted) 84
RSL — Ned Grabavoy 1 (unassisted) 92+

Misconduct Summary:
KC — Matt Besler (caution; Tactical Foul) 27
RSL — Jamison Olave (caution; Tactical Foul) 29
KC — Kei Kamara (caution; Tactical Foul) 32
KC — Jimmy Conrad (caution; Tactical Foul) 73
KC — Davy Arnaud (caution; Tactical Foul) 82
KC — Davy Arnaud (ejection; Second Caution) 82

Lineups:
Real Salt Lake — Nick Rimando, Tony Beltran, Nat Borchers, Jamison Olave, Chris Wingert (Robbie Russell 46), Andy Williams (Ned Grabavoy 46), Javier Morales, Jean Alexandre, Will Johnson, Álvaro Saborío, Fabian Espíndola (Pablo Campos 88).

Statistics: SHOTS: 12 (Espíndola 5); SHOTS ON GOAL: 7 (Espíndola, Saborío 2); SAVES: 2 (Rimando 2); FOULS: 11 (Alexandre 3); CORNERS: 2 (Morales 2); OFFSIDES: 5 (Saborío 3)

Kansas City Wizards — Jimmy Nielsen, Jonathan Leathers (Chance Myers 46), Jimmy Conrad, Matt Besler, Michael Harrington, Davy Arnaud, Jack Jewsbury, Josh Wolff (Graham Zusi 77), Teal Bunbury, Kei Kamara, Ryan Smith.

Statistics: SHOTS: 6 (Bunbury, Kamara 2); SHOTS ON GOAL: 3 (3 players with 1); SAVES: 3 (Nielsen 3); FOULS: 14 (Arnaud 8); CORNERS: 4 (Arnaud, Smith 2); OFFSIDES: 1 (Kamara 1)

Referee: Ricardo Salazar
Referee’s Assistants: Eric Boria; Paul Scott
4th Official: Alejandro Mariscal
Weather: Partly Cloudy-and-58-degrees / Attendance: 15,588

All statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial

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RSL hammer hapless Toronto

Posted on 02 May 2010 by Patrick McShane

It was a pleasant return home for RSL on Saturday as they dominated an inept Toronto FC squad for a 2-1 victory. Possibly attempting to earn a point on the road, Toronto fielded a defensive formation with the majority of their attacking starters on the bench. Unfortunately this tactic wasn’t particularly effective, as RSL strolled throughout the match imposing their will on an outmatched TFC squad. After playing four of their first five league matches on the road, it was a welcome change for RSL to be in front of the 12,659 fans that braved the stormy weather to support the defending MLS Champions.

RSL struck early, scoring their first goal just 14 minutes into match off of a beautiful cross from midfielder Andy Williams. Forward Álvaro Saborío was the first to rise to the ball, beating Toronto keeper Stefan Frei and defender Raivis Hscanovics with a floating header towards goal. Sensing a Toronto player nearby, RSL’s Jamison Olave ensured the early lead by slamming the ball into goal before Saborío could claim his second goal for the season.

The second goal came just before half off of a similar run of play, with RSL, and particularly Williams, running Toronto’s defense into tatters. The goal itself required a brilliant piece of skill by Williams, who cut into the middle of pitch just outside of the box and blasted a shot to the top left corner past Frei. Though the 2-0 halftime lead felt deserved, there was also a sense that RSL should have scored more.

Toronto coach Preki tried to make amends for his tinkering at the beginning of the match by subbing on leading goal scorer Dwayne De Rosario, influential midfielder Julian de Guzman, and young attacker O’Brian White all at the beginning of the second half. While Toronto appeared much more comfortable overall with these additions, their attack still lacked any sizable bite. Only White appeared dangerous with a header that deflected off the woodwork early in the half. De Rosario would eventually convert a penalty late off of a questionable handball on Kyle Beckerman, but the match was all but over and RSL earned their first win since the opening match of the season.

RSL will continue their home stand next week as they face expansion side Philadelphia Union. While they’ve fallen behind their Western Conference foes with some early struggles on the road, they now have a chance to make a run with three of their next four matches taking place in the friendly confines of Rio Tinto Stadium. “It’s pretty important,” noted Williams. “We’re at home and haven’t brought a lot of points back from the road yet, so it was a must-win at home for us. And next week will be the same.”

Photo Gallery

All photos ©Julie Harper/ASN

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MATCH FACTS
TORONTO FC (2-4-0) VS REAL SALT LAKE (2-3-1)
Saturday, May 1, 2010 — Rio Tinto Stadium

Scoring Summary:
RSL – Jamison Olave 1 (Álvaro Saborío 2, Andy Williams 1) 14
RSL – Andy Williams 1 (Tony Beltran 1) 42
TOR – Dwayne De Rosario 6 (penalty kick) 88

REAL SALT LAKE–Nick Rimando, Robbie Russell (Chris Wingert 70), Jamison Olave, Nat Borchers, Tony Beltran, Collen Warner (Nelson Gonzalez 86), Andy Williams (Jean Alexandre 91+), Kyle Beckerman, Will Johnson, Álvaro Saborío, Robbie Findley

TOTAL SHOTS: 12 (Williams 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 5 (Warner 2); FOULS: 7 (Saborío 2); OFFSIDE: 4; CORNER KICKS: 12; SAVES: Rimando 3; CAUTIONS: Saborío 21, Warner 47+, Olave 50; EJECTIONS: None

TORONTO FC–Stefan Frei, Raivis Hscanovics (Dwayne De Rosario 45), Maksim Usanov, Adrian Cann, Nana Attakora, Dan Gargan, Nane Joseph (Julian de Guzman 45), Amadou Sanyang (O’Brian White 45), Nick LaBrocca, Martin Saric, Chad Barrett

TOTAL SHOTS: 7 (Barrett 2); SHOTS ON GOAL: 4 (4 tied with 1); FOULS: 11 (4 tied with 2); OFFSIDE: 1; CORNER KICKS: 3; SAVES: Frei 3; CAUTIONS: Attakora 49, de Guzman 61, LaBrocca 73; EJECTIONS: None

Referee: Kevin Stott
Referee’s Assistants: Nate Clement, Steven Taylor
4th Official: Ramon Hernandez.
Attendance: 12,659 / Temperature: 49 and Cloudy

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RSL rock Rapids for MLS Playoff berth, Rocky Mountain Cup

Posted on 25 October 2009 by Patrick McShane

Just a week ago it seemed as if RSL’s hope for a second consecutive playoff appearance appeared out of reach. They had just suffered a crushing 1-0 defeat on the road against Toronto FC and were heading home to face Rocky Mountain rivals, Colorado Rapids, in a must-win match. And yet, everything somehow came together Saturday night as RSL routed Colorado 3-0, in a one-sided, dominant affair. Coupled with Toronto’s breakdown against New York , D.C. United’s late draw against Kansas City, and Seattle victory over Dallas, RSL now find themselves as the 3rd or 4th seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Needing at least a two-goal victory to claim the rivalry-based Rocky Mountain Cup, RSL knew that they had to be the aggressors from the opening whistle. It took RSL just 15 minutes to get on the scoring sheet after a bright offensive start to the match. After a close attempt on a free kick outside of the box, Andy Williams collected the ball and placed a perfect cross into the box to Fabian Espindola. Rather than challenge Colorado keeper Preston Burpo, Espindola chipped the ball back in front of goal for Robbie Findley to head home. The 18,675 fans in attendance erupted as their playoff hopes seemed revitalized due to some keen watching of the other crucial matches taking place simultaneously.

Though many felt optimism after the opening goal, the lead felt tenuous as both teams were chippy and physical in their play. Rather than buckle under surmounting pressure as they have over recent weeks, RSL responded with a second goal in the 35th minute as Williams again found a wide-open Findley with a pass over the top. Findley still had to some work to do with a sublime chip over Burpo for a casual left footed goal. Colorado seemed deflated entering half time and continued that mentality into the second half as they struggled to break down an energized RSL backline. Substitute Yura Movsisyan added an insurance goal in the 85th minute on a dazzling counter-attack, leaving the fans and team to celebrate another season series victory over Colorado as well as the hope of a playoff appearance.

While the victory and their aggressive play was crucial, RSL’s biggest victory of the evening came two hours after their match against Colorado, when Seattle Sounders defeated FC Dallas 2-1 at home. With the victory RSL is guaranteed a playoff spot as they now await the result of the New England/Columbus match this afternoon to determine their seeding and eventual opponent. Colorado will also be closely watching, as their playoff dreams rest on a New England defeat. Playoff pairings will be announced later this evening with RSL potentially facing reigning MLS Cup champion and Supporter’s Shield winning Columbus Crew or the enigmatic Chicago Fire at home next week. In the meantime, however, RSL will savor an impressive victory and a sweet ending to a tumultuous season.

Added coach Jason Kreis after the match: “We take satisfaction, we’re proud of this match. We can hold our heads high about coming out of this match and what we’ve done, and what we’ve done at home this season. It’s a real accomplishment.”

PLAYER ASSESSMENTS:

Rimando – While the offense for RSL was clicking, Rimando kept them in the match throughout the first half with a number of stellar saves. He’s been “Mr. Consistency” for RSL all season long.

Wingert – Played within the flow of the match and didn’t try to do too much. This is probably the best I’ve seen Wingert perform in over two months.

Borchers & Olave– After being announced as the team MVP and Defensive Player of the Year respectively, Borchers partnered with Olave to lead their best overall performance of the year. Both players silenced Conor Casey & Omar Cummings with physical, yet composed play. If they keep this impressive play up throughout the playoffs, RSL could be a dangerous team.

Beltran – I started out the year indifferent towards Tony, and have now ended the year a big fan. His defensive positioning and overall energy has improved throughout the year and he is showing signs of growth. Having just celebrated his 22nd birthday, Beltran still has a number of years ahead of him to have an impact in the league.

Williams – Fans have been clamoring for Williams to replace Mathis in the lineup for weeks now, and this time it paid dividends. Williams logged two assists (which he again predicted earlier this week on his Facebook page) and was the driving force on offense.

Johnson – While I’ve been critical of Johnson’s tangible results this season, his energy and work on the pitch are unmatched. Last night was the perfect example of how Johnson can influence a match without a earning a goal or assist.

Beckerman – I always laugh when I think how I used to hate Kyle Beckerman when he was on the opposing team in this rivalry. Now, I can’t imagine an RSL team without their all-around leader and organizer

Morales – Still struggling a bit in terms of offensive, but it’s been his defensive commitment in recent weeks that’s been most notable.

Espindola – Rather than disappoint fans with missed chances this week, Espy decided to be the provider of the first goal. I’ve always liked a two-man strike core with him and Findley and hope that coach Kreis continues this formation into the playoffs.

Findley – MOTM honors in my book. 12 goals for the season, 1st in goals for RSL, and third place in the MLS Golden Boot race. What an incredible season for Findley after many thought he was a one-trick pony just a season ago.

SUBS
Grabavoy
– I was pretty underwhelmed when the sub was made as I felt it decreased our offensive prowess. In the end, however, it was a sly substitution as it gave us more possession in the middle of the pitch and helped control Colorado’s offensive pressure.

Movsisyan – Despite the drama that came along with Yura’s pending departure, I for one can’t imagine a player with more game changing potential. I’m excited to see him produce more “Movsisyan Magic” in the playoffs.

Mathis – Please, Jason Kreis. Please keep Mathis as a late sub. His performance over the final 18+ minutes was the best I’ve seen Mathis play in recent weeks.

MATCH Facts

Colorado Rapids (10-10-10) vs. Real Salt Lake (11-12-7)
October 24, 2009 — Rio Tinto Stadium

Scoring Summary:
RSL — Robbie Findley 11 (Fabian Espíndola 3, Andy Williams 5) 15
RSL — Robbie Findley 12 (Andy Williams 6) 33
RSL — Yura Movsisyan 8 (Javier Morales 5) 85

Colorado Rapids — Preston Burpo, Drew Moor, Julien Baudet, Cory Gibbs (Pat Noonan 69), Jordan Harvey (Facundo Diz 87), Kosuke Kimura, Mehdi Ballouchy, Pablo Mastroeni, Nick LaBrocca, Conor Casey, Omar Cummings.

Real Salt Lake — Nick Rimando, Chris Wingert, Nat Borchers, Jamison Olave, Tony Beltran, Andy Williams (Ned Grabavoy 62), Kyle Beckerman, Javier Morales, Will Johnson, Robbie Findley (Yura Movsisyan 62), Fabian Espíndola (Clint Mathis 72).

Misconduct Summary:
COL — Julien Baudet (caution; Tactical Foul) 18
RSL — Andy Williams (caution; Reckless Tackle) 25
RSL — Nat Borchers (caution; Reckless Tackle) 35
COL — Conor Casey (caution; Reckless Foul) 39
RSL — Kyle Beckerman (caution; Reckless Foul) 58
RSL — Yura Movsisyan (caution; Shirt Removal) 86

Referee: Jorge Gonzalez
Referee’s Assistants: Chris Strickland; Greg Boles
4th official: Ramon Hernandez
Attendance: 18,675/ Weather: Cloudy -and- 53 degrees

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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).

MATCH FACTS


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

RSL PLAYER ASSESSMENTS

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.

SUBS
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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