Preview: RSL, Seattle look to end slides in July 4 clash
REAL SALT LAKE vs SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC
RIO TINTO STADIUM, Sandy, Utah
July 4, 2012 (WEEK 18, MLS Game #150)
10:00 pm ET / 7:00 pm PT (KUCW-30; KING/KOMO)
Two Western Conference leaders looking to put an end to recent skids meet on the Fourth of July when Real Salt Lake entertain Seattle Sounders FC at Rio Tinto Stadium. Real have lost three in a row for the first time in five seasons, after a 2-0 defeat at Columbus last weekend. Sounders FC are in the midst of a club-record eight-game league winless run, after being hauled back into a 2-2 draw at New England last weekend. The clubs are separated by six points at the top end of the West table.
REFEREE: Hilario Grajeda. SAR (bench): Paul Scott; JAR (opposite): Bill Dittmar; 4th: Mark Declouet
Grajeda's MLS Career: 68 games; FC/gm: 24.5; Y/gm: 3.6; R: 14; pens: 11
INJURY REPORT: 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); PROBABLE: MF Javier Morales (R knee hyperextension); DF Nat Borchers (L quadriceps strain); MF Sebastian Velasquez (R turf toe) ... SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC: OUT: GK Michael Gspurning (R hip strain); FW Babayele Sodade (R knee ACL tear); FW David Estrada (L foot fracture); QUESTIONABLE: DF Adam Johansson (R hamstring strain); DF Jeff Parke (dizziness); MF Steve Zakuani (R leg fracture); PROBABLE: GK Josh Ford (R knee stress fracture); DF Leo Gonzalez (L quad strain)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED: SEA - Osvaldo Alonso (caution accumulation; through July 4)
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: RSL: Javier Morales, Fabian Espindola ... SEA: Fredy Montero
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: RSL: Jamison Olave, Alvaro Saborio, Jonny Steele ... SEA: Eddie Johnson, Andy Rose, Zach Scott
ALL-TIME (7 meetings): Real 3 wins, 7 goals ...Sounders FC 2 wins, 7 goals ... Ties 2
AT SALT LAKE (3 meetings): Real 1 win, 4 goals ... Sounders FC 1 win, 4 goals ... Ties 1
FUTURE MATCH: 10/17: Seattle Sounders FC vs. Real Salt Lake, 7 p.m. PT
- Fabian Espíndola netted the game’s lone goal in the first meeting between the clubs this season, May 12 at CenturyLink Field.
- The clubs met last year in a tense Western Conference Semifinal Series, Real winning the first leg 3-0 at Rio Tinto Stadium, then advancing on aggregate despite a 2-0 loss at CenturyLink Field in the return match.
- Coaches record: Jason Kreis vs. SEA: P7 W3 L2 D2 ... Sigi Schmid vs. RSL: P7 W2 L3 D2
LAST MEETING (MLS)
5/12: SEA 0. RSL 1 (Espindola 50)
- The game's only goal came in the 50th minute. Picking up the ball in midfield, RSL's Luis Gil dropped a ball over the Sounders FC backline that Fabian Espíndola volleyed with his left foot from about 16 yards out, beating goalkeeper Bryan Meredith to the far post.
- SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC (4-4-2): Bryan Meredith - Adam Johansson (Alex Caskey 82), Jeff Parke, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Marc Burch - Mauro Rosales (Cordell Cato 75), Andy Rose, Osvaldo Alonso, David Estrada (Alvaro Fernandez 58) - Eddie Johnson, Fredy Montero.
- REAL SALT LAKE (4-3-1-2): Nick Rimando - Tony Beltran, Jamison Olave, Nat Borchers, Chris Wingert (Chris Schuler 20) - Ned Grabavoy, Kyle Beckerman, Will Johnson - Luis Gil (Jonny Steele 75) - Fabian Espindola, Alvaro Saborio (Yordany Alvarez 81).
REAL SALT LAKE
Real Salt Lake saw their losing streak reach three games, falling to a 2-0 defeat to the Columbus Crew on Saturday evening at Crew Stadium. Real sit in second place in the Western Conference with 32 points from 18 games.
- The match was started an hour late after violent storms that ripped through central Ohio on Friday caused a loss of power at Crew Stadium.
- But the Crew started quickly, taking the lead in the 16th minute. Emilio Rentería regained control of a long ball after nearly falling over a defender, but dribbled to the endline and cut back a pass for Tony Tchani to slot home from the spot.
- Eddie Gaven doubled the Crew advantage off a corner kick. Josh Williams settled the service by Chris Birchall and drove it back into the mixer where Gaven turned a left-footed shot that struck the underside of the crossbar and continued over the line.
- RSL head coach Jason Kreis made two changes to the team that falling 2-1 to the San Jose Earthquakes at Rio Tinto Stadium. Jonny Steele and Yordany Alvarez came into the midfield for Ned Grabavoy and the suspended Kyle Beckerman.
- REAL SALT LAKE (4-3-1-2): Nick Rimando - Terakazu Tanaka (Luis Gil 73), Chris Wingert, Nat Borchers, Tony Beltran - Jonny Steele, Yordany Alvarez, Will Johnson - Javier Morales - Fabian Espindola (Paulo Junior 63), Alvaro Saborio (Emiliano Bonfigli 61).
- Real Salt Lake’s three-game losing streak is the club’s longest since July 4-28, 2007, when the club lost four in a row just a couple of months after head coach Jason Kreis took over.
- “We’re in a difficult patch, every team goes through them and we haven’t really had one until now,” Kreis said. “It’s a long way until the end of the season, we have some players who are out injured, so we need to stick together and keep reminding ourselves that right now we’re not getting the job done but still believe that we can. At some point it’ll come right for us.”
- After conceding just six goals total over the previous seven games, Real have allowed seven goals over the three-game losing slide.
- RSL was shut out for the first time since May 9. “I think that we’ve put a lot of pride in doing things like not losing three in a row,” Kreis said. “It feels different. Losing two games in a row at home puts us in a place that we aren’t familiar with. If we look at tonight , we were still creating some chances that on any other night had our forwards been a little sharper we would score a goal and that would give a different complexion to the game.”
- Real had their four-game road unbeaten streak – the second-longest in club history – put to an end in the defeat. The opening scored by Columbus was the first allowed on the road in 331 minutes, also the second- longest such streak in club history.
- “I think it’s mental mistakes, I think we know how good we can be and we have to stick to the basics and details and remember what got us this far,” said goalkeeper Nick Rimando. “There’s nobody in this locker room that doesn’t think we can’t continue to do better. We’re just not getting the results right now and I think they’re coming from mental errors.”
- For the second time this season, midfielder and captain Kyle Beckerman was out of the side, serving a suspension for yellow card accumulation.
- “They are definitely important but at the same time, the guys have got to get in when other guys aren’t available and they have to show up,” said Rimando. “Maybe we’re not as deep as we think we are but at the same time when that player comes in he has to do his job. It’s a team effort not just one player’s job, It’s a cliché and it’s true but we have to stay positive and move forward.”
- Center back Jamison Olave missed his second consecutive match through injury, while Ned Grabavoy was also out after being forced out of the San Jose match at the hour mark.
- “Only thing wrong with having that type of mentality about how important your players are is that you demean the other players and for me there’s no reason to do that,” said Kreis. “The guys came in and gave it everything they had.”
Seattle Sounders FC had their league winless streak stretched to eight game in cruel fashion, conceding a goal with nearly the game’s final touch for a 2-2 draw with the New England Revolution on Saturday evening at Gillette Stadium. Sounders FC are in a tie for third place in the Western Conference with 26 points from 17 games.
- Saer Sene put the Revolution into the lead after 12 minutes. Blake Brettschneider slid a return square ball to him inside the goal area and Sene comfortably slotted home despite Seattle claims for offside.
- Sounders FC pulled level 11 minutes later. Mauro Rosales won possession on the right side and immediately clipped a diagonal ball for Eddie Johnson to powerfully head home.
- Sounders FC and Johnson had their second after 36 minutes with another header. Marc Burch retrieved an overhit service deep in the left corner, then curled a cross toward the back post. Johnson rose highest over a pair of challenges to polish off the chance.
- But four minutes into second-half stoppage time, Diego Fagundez rose up to nod home Fernando Cárdenas' cross from the left flank – one week after Chris Tierney accomplished a similar feat in the draw at Toronto FC.
- Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid made three changes to the team that lost 2-1 to the Portland Timbers at Jeld-Wen Field. Adam Johansson and Patrick Ianni came into the back four for Jeff Parke and Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, and Andy Rose started in place of the suspended Fredy Montero.
- SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC (4-4-1-1): Andrew Weber (Bryan Meredith 46) - Adam Johansson, Zach Scott, Patrick Ianni, Marc Burch - Brad Evans (Alvaro Fernandez 56), Osvaldo Alonso, Andy Rose, Alex Caskey (Leo Gonzalez 80) - Mauro Rosales - Eddie Johnson.
- Sounders FC saw their club-record winless streak reach eight games in the draw in New England. Seattle has yet to lose consecutive games in that span.
- “This is a competitive league. Any time you can steal three points you’ve got to take the three points,” said Eddie Johnson. “I’m not just saying that ‘cause I’m scoring goals now. It’s just that mentality within our team. We got to find ways to win games. We’re not finding ways to win games, you know? We just keep putting pressure on ourselves; it’s frustrating.”
- Johnson scored both goals on headers, his seventh career multiple-goal game in MLS. He has scored the last three goals for Sounders FC.
- “One of our strengths is getting the ball out wide and serving the ball in the box. We’ve got guys who can score, who are dangerous on crosses. We’re a big team and were playing to our strengths, and we kind of went from playing to our strengths as the game went on,” said Johnson.
- Sounders FC were forced into a change at halftime when Bryan Meredith replaced Andrew Weber in goal after Weber suffered a groin injury.
- “You don't expect to have to make a goalkeeper sub so that would have given me one more field sub. We could have brought on fresh legs. I think you saw a lot of tired people out there at the end,” Schmid said. “Andy Rose played 90 minutes on Tuesday in a very hard-fought game, when (Alex) Caskey got out, he was pretty tired as well. Mauro (Rosales) was tired. Eddie Johnson was pretty tired at the end. So if we had one more sub that could have made a difference for us, as well.”
- Right back Adam Johansson made his first start since suffering a strained right hamstring on May 23 against Columbus.
- Sounders FC remain winless after allowing the opening goal, now 0-5-4. They are one of four teams yet to win after conceding first, along with Montreal, Philadelphia and Toronto.
- “Playing from behind is obviously difficult. But we came back today and we got ourselves on top,” said Schmid. “But it's just a situation – in the second half, we have to do what we have to do in terms of (not having) the legs anymore to be able to get forward, our fitness and travel and everything else. They moved the ball well and they created spaces and created openings and we have to bunker in and defend. That was a reflection of where we're at right now physically with the amount of games we played.