Preview: Struggling TFC make tough trip to Rio Tinto
REAL SALT LAKE vs TORONTO FC
RIO TINTO STADIUM, Sandy, Utah
April 28, 2012 (WEEK 8, MLS Game #72)
7 p.m. MT (KUCW-30; GolTV Can.)
Real Salt Lake return home off a three-game road trip to entertain a Toronto FC club trying to avoid making history when the clubs meet Saturday evening at Rio Tinto Stadium. Real finally gained a point on their recent travels at midweek, coming back for a 1-1 draw at FC Dallas. Toronto FC are trying to keep from becoming the second team in MLS history to lose their first seven games in a season, last week falling at home 3-2 to the Chicago Fire.
REFEREE: Silviu Petrescu. SAR (bench): Daniel Belleau; JAR (opposite): Kevin Duliba; 4th: David Gantar
MLS Career: 43 games; FC/gm: 27.5; Y/gm: 3.7; R: 8; pens: 6
- REAL SALT LAKE - OUT: MF Nico Muniz (R knee MCL strain); DOUBTFUL: FW Cody Arnoux (L adductor strain); QUESTIONABLE: MF Ned Grabavoy (rib dislocation); PROBABLE: MF Enzo Martinez (back spasms); MF Javier Morales (R hamstring strain)
- TORONTO FC - OUT: FW Nicholas Lindsay (L knee surgery recovery); DF Dicoy Williams (R knee surgery recovery); DF Jeremy Hall (sports hernia surgery recovery); GK Stefan Frei (L lower leg); MF Nick Soolsma (L hamstring strain); DOUBTFUL: FW Danny Koevermans (R adductor strain); PROBABLE: MF Torsten Frings (R hamstring strain)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: none
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: TOR: Julian de Guzman
ALL-TIME (10 meetings): Real 4 wins, 11 goals ... Toronto FC 4 wins, 8 goals ... Ties 2
AT SALT LAKE (5 meetings): Real 4 wins, 11 goals ... Toronto FC 1 win, 5 goals ... Ties 0
LAST YEAR (MLS):
6/25: RSL 3, TOR 1 (Borchers 39; Saborio 42, 60 - Santos 66)
8/13: TOR 1, RSL 0 (Plata 77)
- This is the only league meeting between the clubs this season.
- Since a TFC victory at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City in the first meeting between the teams in 2007, the road team has not won.
- Each club won at home last year, Real with a 3-1 win at Rio Tinto Stadium, and Toronto FC in a 1-0 victory at BMO Field.
- Real have never won in Toronto. TFC has won three of the games at BMO Field, with two draws.
- Coaches record: Jason Kreis vs. TOR: P10 W4 L4 D2 ... Aron Winter vs. RSL: P2 W1 L1 D0
REAL SALT LAKE
Real Salt Lake concluded their three-game road swing with a positive result, coming back for a 1-1 draw with FC Dallas on Wednesday evening in Frisco. Real are in a tie for first place in the Western Conference with 16 points from 9 games.
HIGHLIGHTS: Nine-man RSL fall in San Jose
- FC Dallas took the lead just before halftime. RSL defender Tony Beltran was called for a handball in the box by referee Geoff Gamble, and Brek Shea drilled home the penalty kick.
- But Real Salt Lake answered back in the 72nd minute. Just three minutes after coming on as a substitute, Emiliano Bonfigli finished off a spell of possession for the visitors, collecting Will Johnson's chipped through ball, taking one touch in the area and finishing with a low shot past FCD goalkeeper Chris Seitz.
- RSL head coach Jason Kreis made three changes to the team that fell 3-1 to the San Jose Earthquakes at Buck Shaw Stadium. Luis Gil, Chris Schuler and Paulo Junior came back into the team for Jonny Steele and the suspended Jamison Olave and Fabian Espindola
- REAL SALT LAKE (4-3-1-2): Nick Rimando - Tony Beltran, Chris Schuler, Nat Borchers, Chris Wingert - Will Johnson (Jonny Steele 83), Kyle Beckerman, Luis Gil (Ned Grabavoy 55) - Javier Morales - Paulo Junior (Emiliano Bonfigli 69), Alvaro Saborio.
Instant Replay: Examining the week's red cards
- The result extended Real's lifetime winless record in Texas, now with an 0-17-3 record all-time in games in the Lone Star State. They have at least one more chance to snap that mark this season - a visit to BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston on Sept. 6.
- "I'm pleased with the point but I wanted all three," said RSL head coach Jason Kreis. "We're pleased that we get a result. We're pleased that we don't lose our third game in a row, but I think with a little bit more, and a little bit better we walk out of here with all three."
- The draw also concluded the three-game road trip where RSL took one of a possible nine points. After opening their road campaign with wins at LA and Portland, Real lost at Sporting KC and San Jose before Wednesday.
- "We regrouped at halftime," said Will Johnson. "We changed a few things tactically. We pushed a few guys higher. Jason deserves a lot of credit for that. We got rewarded with a goal and some opportunities to try and win the game."
- Said Kreis: "We're pleased with both of the second half responses in our last two matches. We'll see if we can't stretch that 45 minute [effort] into 90 this weekend."
- For a second consecutive match, Real allowed the opening goal in first-half stoppage time. When RSL concedes the first goal, they are 1-3-1; they have won all four games when scoring first.
- "It's the second week in a row that we're in a really tough spot," said Kreis. "We get scored on right before halftime."
- Coming into the match, first-year man Emiliano Bonfigli had seen just one minute of first-team time. Three minutes after coming on for his second league appearance, he scored his first MLS goal.
- "I'm just working as hard as I can to get as many minutes as I can," said Bonfigli. "It's tough to watch the game at times, but when I go in I have to work as hard as I can, and luckily I was able to get a goal today."
- Said Kreis to the Salt Lake Tribune: "We know how hard a worker he is. We know how fast he is. Potential-wise, he can be a very interesting player. I've been wanting to get him an opportunity, but it hasn't really presented itself until tonight. This was his first real opportunity and he took full advantage of it."
- With Fabian Espindola suspended, Paulo Junior moved back into the starting lineup for the first time since April 4, when he started the opening five league games of the season.
Toronto FC saw their season-opening losing streak extended to six games, the Chicago Fire coming away from BMO Field with a 3-2 victory on Saturday afternoon. TFC is in 10th place in the Eastern Conference.
HIGHLIGHTS: TFC come out on the wrong end of a shootout
- The Fire took the lead just 25 seconds in. Patrick Nyarko picked the pocket of TFC sweeper Torsten Frings just outside his own area, and Dominic Oduro streaked onto the loose ball, took a touch and slotted under TFC goalkeeper Milos Kocic.
- But TFC took the lead in short fashion by halftime on a pair of goals from winger Reggie Lambe. In the 36th minute, Lambe gathered a punched clearance from a corner kick, made space and ripped a right-footed rocket from outside the box into the top left corner.
- Four minutes later Lambe was there again. Ryan Johnson made a darting run down the left side and crossed for Matt Stinson, who could only deflect the ball to the back post where Lambe smashed it in for Toronto's first lead of the season.
- The lead lasted barely a minute. The Fire won a set piece in the 41st minute, and Argentinean maestro Sebastian Grazzini floated a perfect ball to the back post for Gonzao Segares to flick past a sprawling Kocic.
- The visitors went back in front in the 58th minute. Receiving the ball in midfield, Oduro turned provider, slipping a ball through perfectly for Nyarko to run onto. The Ghanaian playmaker took a touch around the on-rushing Kocic and finished into the open net for the eventual winner.
- TFC head coach Aron Winter made three changes to the team that lost 1-0 to Chivas USA at BMO Field. Torsten Frings, Matt Stinson and Eric Avila started in place of Miguel Aceval, Luis Silva and Danny Koevermans.
- TORONTO FC (3-4-2-1): Milos Kocic - Richard Eckersley, Torsten Frings, Adrian Cann - Matt Stinson (Luis Silva 68), Terry Dunfield (Julian de Guzman 58), Eric Avila (Junior Burgos 85), Ashtone Morgan - Reggie Lambe, Joao Plata - Ryan Johnson
Ryan Johnson rallies the troops in Toronto
- Toronto FC have now matched the second-worst start in MLS history at 0-6-0, joining the 2001 D.C. United side. The Kansas City Wizards began 0-7-0 in 1999 for the worst in league history.
- "I think we don't have to speak about the playoffs now, it's just points that are very important," defender Torsten Frings said. "We can look at what happens in the next six or seven weeks. The season is still long and now we have to look to get the first points. That's very important."
- TFC head coach Aron Winter said his club will reach the MLS Cup Playoffs for the first time in club history. "I've got the support from (MLSE) and I always believe in my vision. ...We're going to make the playoffs," Winter said.
- With Frings available for the first time since the season opener in Seattle, when he was forced off after just 24 minutes, Winter went with three in the back, with Frings filling the central libero role.
- "We give the goals away with a lot of mistakes. My mistake too. We have to try and make it better. It's not easy if you have six games that we lost," said Frings. "Now it's very important that we keep improving things and working hard during training and try again next week."
- TFC allowed three goals in a game for the third time this season, and have allowed 13 goals for the season, third-most in MLS (behind MontrÈal, 15, and New York, 14).
- "I'm not looking differently because we have brought some players in but still it is not enough to succeed," Winter said. "And we noticed last year and also now at the beginning of the season that defensively we need to reinforce and we still try to look for better players."
- Reggie Lambe scored the first two goals of his MLS career, netting both in the 3-2 loss to Chicago last weekend.
- "I have to say that's the best goal I've ever scored," Lambe said of his first. "It would have felt much better if we came away with the win, obviously. Because I scored two and we still lost it's still disappointing that we couldn't get our first win."
- Winter remains committed to the basic tactical scheme he has employed since his arrival at the club.
- "Of course, you should always make one or two changes if you're in a situation like now, when you have bad luck and things are not working out," Winter said. "But you also need consistency to also give the players confidence. ... Maybe you have to play different but my vision with three strikers and 4-3-3 is going to stay always."
- Winter said both Danny Koevermans and Nick Soolsma are questionable, after missing out on full training early in the week. Koevermans missed the Chicago match with a groin strain, while Soolsma has missed two games with a hamstring strain.