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Preview: Crew, RSL meet with an eye to end struggles

June 30, 2012 (WEEK 17, MLS Game #152)
8 p.m. ET (FS-OH; KUCW-30)

Two teams looking to regain their winning form meet in an intersectional clash at Crew Stadium when the Columbus Crew play host to Real Salt Lake. The Crew saw a six-game unbeaten run put to an end last weekend, falling 2-1 to a 10-man Chicago Fire on the road. Real are coming off back-to-back home losses for the first time ever at Rio Tinto Stadium, dropping a 2-1 decision to the San Jose Earthquakes last weekend.

REFEREE: Geoff Gamble. SAR (bench): Daniel Belleau; JAR (opposite): Matthew Nelson; 4th: Sorin Stoica
MLS Career: 14 games; FC/gm: 22.4; Y/gm: 3.3; R: 2; pens: 9



  • COLUMBUS CREW -- OUT: FW Tommy Heinemann (L knee surgery); GK William Hesmer (R hip surgery); DF Chad Marshall (concussion); MF Kirk Urso (R adductor tendonitis); DF Rich Balchan (sports hernia rehab); MF Dilly Duka (L hamstring strain); DOUBTFUL: DF Carlos Mendes (R ankle sprain); QUESTIONABLE: MF Danny O'Rourke (L ankle sprain); MF Milovan Mirosevic (L adductor strain)
  • REAL SALT LAKE -- OUT: DF Chris Schuler (L foot bone stress response); DOUBTFUL: DF Jamison Olave (R calf strain); MF Ned Grabavoy (L adductor strain); QUESTIONABLE: MF Sebastian Velasquez (R turf toe); PROBABLE: MF Javier Morales (R knee hyperextension); DF Nat Borchers (L quadriceps strain)


SUSPENDED: RSL: Kyle Beckerman (caution accumulation; through June 30)


  • SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: RSL: Javier Morales, Alvaro Saborio
  • SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: RSL: Fabian Espindola, Jamison Olave

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ALL-TIME (14 meetings): Crew 9 wins, 20 goals ... Real 4 wins, 13 goals ... Ties 1

AT COLUMBUS (23 meetings): Crew 6 wins, 14 goals ... Real 1 win, 4 goals ... Ties 0

6/8: CLB 2, RSL 1 (Mendoza 76; Gardner 82 -- Olave 7)
7/30: RSL 0, CLB 2 (Gaven 5; Heinemann 10)

  • The Crew won both meetings between the teams a year ago, winning 2-1 in Columbus and taking a 2-0 victory at Rio Tinto Stadium, their first victory in Utah since 2006.
  • The Crew have won the last five league meetings between the teams at Crew Stadium. RSL's only victory in Ohio came Aug. 16, 2006, a 2-1 triumph.
  • But Real Salt Lake have won twice since in other competitions at Crew Stadium, a 3-2 win in the second leg of an Eastern Conference Semifinal Series in 2009 (to win the tie 4-2 on aggregate), and a 4-1 win in the second leg of a CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal in 2010 (winning the tie 4-1).
  • Coaches record: Robert Warzycha v RSL: P7 W5 L2 D0 ... Jason Kreis vs. CLB: P9 W3 L6 D0


The Columbus Crew saw their undefeated run come to an end at six games, falling 2-1 to the Chicago Fire on Saturday evening at Toyota Park. The Crew sit in sixth place in the Eastern Conference with 19 points from 14 games.

HIGHLIGHTS: Fire come out on top in Columbus


  • The Fire took the lead in just the second minute when Marco Pappa's right-footed blast from 25 yards was too hot for Crew goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum and flew into the back of the net.
  • The home side then doubled their lead in the 25th minute when Sebastian Grazzini sprung Dominic Oduro with a through ball, and Oduro lashed it past Gruenebaum from inside the area.
  • The match turned in the 29th minute when Gonzalo Segares' studs-up challenge caught Crew midfielder Kevan George on the inside of the knee, and he was shown red by referee Armando Villarreal.
  • Six minutes later, Tony Tchani put the Crew on the board, beating Sean Johnson with a low shot after receiving a pass from Chris Birchall and blowing by two Fire defenders. But the 10-man Fire held out the rest of the way.
  • Crew head coach Robert Warzycha made two changes to the team that reached a scoreless draw with the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium. Julius James came into central defense for Carlos Mendes, and Chris Birchall came into the midfield for Milovan Mirosevic.
  • COLUMBUS CREW (4-4-1-1): Andy Gruenebaum - Sebastian Miranda, Josh Williams, Julius James, Nemanja Vukovic (Ethan Finlay 78) - Chris Birchall, Kevan George, Tony Tchani, Justin Meram (Aaron Schoenfeld 58) - Eddie Gaven - Emilio Renteria (Olman Vargas 75).


Power 5: Unbreakable Records, Stern John's Goals/90

  • The Crew saw their six-game undefeated streak come to an end, their first loss since a 1-0 defeat by Vancouver Whitecaps FC on April 28.
  • "We had the possession," midfielder Chris Birchall said. "We weren't getting on the end of things. Sometimes you can get a goal off a set piece and hide the fact you're not scoring goals and making plays. It's a problem that's got to be addressed."
  • Tony Tchani scored his first goal this season, in his ninth consecutive league appearance after missing four games to injury.
  • "After coming on strong in the second half, we felt like we could get one, or possibly go in for a second one. But we came short," Tchani said. "Coach talked to us about putting pressure on them.  Sometimes we pushed too much because in the second half they had a few good chances and our goalkeeper came up big."
  • Birchall made his first start for the Crew, his second appearance since signing with the club, and recorded his first assist. Both appearances have come vs. Chicago.
  • "I've been here a good four or five weeks now. ... But I've had a reserve game under my belt, and the gaffer knew that. I really wanted to play and he put me in," Birchall said. "I was kind of pleased; I got my first assist. I felt my fitness is getting there, it just needs a couple more games I suppose, but I am disappointed with the result."
  • For a second consecutive match, Eddie Gaven played as the underneath striker, behind Emilio Renter"a.
  • The Crew will have Costa Rican international striker Jairo Arrieta available beginning with the RSL match with the opening of the secondary transfer window.
  • "It seemed like we didn't really create too many chances," Birchall said. "For the amount of possession we had we didn't cause too much of a threat. Frustration is the main thing, especially playing a team down so long. We did get one (goal) back but we really should have scored a couple of goals in the second half."
  • For the third time in four games, the Crew were without Chilean midfielder Milovan Mirosevic. He is listed as questionable for this weekend's game.
  • "If we had Milo on the field, we'd play better, because he would make much better decisions or talk to the players on the field and get them to play the way they should," Warzycha said.
  • Among three moves the Crew made before the roster guarantee deadline, Shaun Francis was waived by the club. Francis made six starts among his 10 league appearances, most recently the first match vs. Chicago.


Real Salt Lake lost back-to-back games at Rio Tinto Stadium for the first time ever, falling 2-1 to the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday evening. Real now sit in second place in the Western Conference with 32 points from 17 games.

HIGHLIGHTS: SJ drop RSL to historic loss at RioT


  • San Jose finally broke through in the quiet match in the 75th minute. A Ramiro Corrales free kick from the right side was allowed to bounce, and a miscommunication between Rimando and Nat Borchers left the ball sitting up for Alan Gordon to head into an open goal.
  • Four minutes later, Javier Morales brought Real back to even terms. His perfect free kick from 24 yards swerved over the wall and into the upper-left corner past Quakes 'keeper Jon Busch.
  • But San Jose swung the match back again six minutes from the end. A long throw from Justin Morrow was headed on by Gordon, and Wondolowski beat his man to the ball to redirect it on goal. Rimando got down for the shot, only to see it spin under him and over the line for his league-leading 13th goal.
  • RSL head coach Jason Kreis made two changes to the team that fell 3-2 to the LA Galaxy at Rio Tinto Stadium. Terakazu Tanaka came into the back four for Jamison Olave, and Javier Morales returned to the lineup in place of Jonny Steele.
  • REAL SALT LAKE (4-3-1-2): Nick Rimando - Terakazu Tanaka (Luis Gil 72), Chris Wingert, Nat Borchers, Tony Beltran (Paulo Junior 89) - Ned Grabavoy (Jonny Steele 59), Kyle Beckerman, Will Johnson - Javier Morales - Fabian Espindola, Alvaro Saborio.


Not Goal of the Week: Javier Morales' dubious honor

  • Real Salt Lake have lost back-to-back league games for the first time ever at Rio Tinto Stadium. It's the club first back-to-back home losses in MLS play since October 2007.
  • "We didn't lose the game, we gave the game away," RSL head coach Jason Kreis said. "If somebody comes in here and beats us, endline to endline for 90 minutes, then I'll have a different answer for you, but right now, we're beating ourselves."
  • In all competitions, RSL has lost three consecutive home games for the first time since the club's inaugural season of 2005.
  • "It's a week we'd rather forget for sure," said defender Nat Borchers. "I think we played some very good soccer. We created a lot of chances in these two games, but we don't get the result. We just have to look forward and grind some results out in the future."
  • Javier Morales made his first start since May 9, when he was forced off early vs. Chicago with a knee injury. He had come off the substitutes' bench each of the last two games.
  • Morales scored his second goal of the season, directly from a free kick. Of the 19 goals Morales has scored in MLS league play, six have come directly from free kicks.
  • "I thought that he again got better as he went along. We were really considered to have him play the full 90 minutes but we kept talking to him and he was very positive about wanting to stay out there," Kreis said. "I think he was wanting to right some injustices. We were pleased to see him score the goal."
  • Real will again be without midfielder Kyle Beckerman, suspended for yellow card accumulation. Yordany Alvarez is again expected to fill his place in the holding midfield role.
  • "It's difficult. Kyle is the captain of this team, the leader of this team and very important for us, so we would love him to be out there," said Kreis. "I think Yordany has been playing very, very well as of late, and it is good timing for him to get another opportunity. ... He's had a couple of chances already this year and has done pretty well with those chances. In particular, I think he looks like a player in form right now, so I am actually kind of eager to see what he can bring for us on Saturday."
  • Over their last five games in all competitions, Real have conceded 10 goals. They've allowed multiple goals four times in that run.
  • "We're just leaking goals, coming from mistakes all over the field. It's not just the guys at the back," Will Johnson said. "We're giving teams goals, and if you want to be a championship team, you can't expect to win games 3-2. The best teams in the world win games 1-0 with good team defense, and right now, we have nothing close to good team defense."
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