Sat, Sep 29
10:30 PM ET
Real Salt LakeRSL

Preview: RSL jostle for seeding in trip to Chivas USA

September 29, 2012 (WEEK 30, MLS Game #289)
7:30 p.m. PT (PT/KWHY; KTVX-ABC4)

The expansion class of 2005 once again renew acquaintances when Chivas USA entertain Real Salt Lake on Saturday evening at The Home Depot Center. Chivas return home after seeing their losing streak extended to five games on a two-game Eastern swing, last a 1-0 defeat at D.C. United. Real Salt Lake assured their place in the 2012 MLS Cup Playoffs last weekend with a 2-1 home win against Portland.


REFEREE: Juan Guzman. AR1 (bench): Ian Anderson; AR2 (opposite): Baboucarr Jallow; 4th: Jesus Cisneros

MLS Career: 19 games; FC/gm: 26.2; Y/gm: 3.8; R: 6; pens: 4


  • CHIVAS USA – DOUBTFUL: GK Tim Melia (lower back)
  • REAL SALT LAKE – OUT: GK Lalo Fernandez (R wrist fracture); DF Kwame Watson-Siriboe (R adductor strain); DOUBTFUL: FW Alvaro Saborio (R shoulder sprain); PROBABLE: DF Chris Wingert (turf toe)


SUSPENDED: RSL: Jamison Olave (caution accumulation; through Sept. 30)


  • SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: RSL: Fabian Espindola, Javier Morales, Alvaro Saborio
  • SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: CHV: Ryan Smith, John Valencia, Nick LaBrocca, Casey Townsend … RSL: Will Johnson, Kwame Watson-Siriboe, Jonny Steele


  • ALL-TIME (22 meetings): Chivas USA 10 wins, 30 goals … Real 8 wins, 25 goals … Ties 4
  • AT CARSON (10 meetings): Chivas USA 7 wins, 20 goals … Real 4 wins, 10 goals … Ties 1

2012 (MLS):

3/24: RSL 0, CHV 1 (Townsend 72)
6/16: CHV 0, RSL 3 (Espindola 35, 54; Morales 93+)

  • The teams are meeting for a third time this season. Casey Townsend scored the game’s only goal to Chivas USA a shock win March 24 at Rio Tinto Stadium, before Fabian Espíndola scored twice in RSL’s 3-0 win on June 16.
  • The first meeting was Chivas USA’s first win ever at Rio Tinto Stadium in five all-time trips. Chivas USA had won on their final two trips to Rice-Eccles Stadium – and came away with points from their last four.
  • Since a 1-0 Chivas victory in Carson on May 9, 2009, RSL has won five of seven meetings, with one draw.
  • Coaches record: Robin Fraser vs. RSL: P3 W1 L2 D0 … Jason Kreis vs. CHV: P12 W5 L6 D1


  • Real opened the scoring in the 35th minute. From the midfield, Kyle Beckerman put a 35-yard pass right onto Fabian Espindola's head after he slipped past the Chivas defense, and his header left goalkeeper Dan Kennedy no chance.
  • Espindola added another in the 54th minute after a Ned Grabavoy through-ball him in stride. Espindola then left defender Rauwshan McKenzie waving at air with a step-over before slotting a close-range shot past Kennedy.
  • RSL added a third deep into stoppage time. A clever buildup was finished off when Beckerman slid the ball to substitute Javier Morales, whose quick turn found Will Johnson in the left of the area, and he curled a shot home inside the far post.
  • CHIVAS USA (4-3-1-2): Dan Kennedy - James Riley, Rauwshan McKenzie, Danny Califf, Ante Jazic - Ben Zemanski, Oswaldo Minda (Cesar Romero 77), Blair Gavin (Ryan Smith 60) - Alejandro Moreno - Juan Agudelo, Juan Pablo Angel.
  • REAL SALT LAKE (4-1-3-2): Nick Rimando - Tony Beltran, Jamison Olave (Javier Morales 61), Nat Borchers, Chris Wingert - Kyle Beckerman - Jonny Steele, Ned Grabavoy, Will Johnson - Fabian Espindola (Paulo Junior 90), Alvaro Saborio (Yordany Alvarez 86).


Chivas USA went down a fifth consecutive defeat, falling 1-0 to D.C. United on Sunday evening at RFK Stadium. Chivas USA are in ninth place in the Western Conference with 28 points from 29 games.


  • The game's lone goal came in the 64th minute. United striker Lionard Pajoy made a nifty move outside the box to free himself up and send in a low cross from the right. Branko Boskovic made the run and dove to beat Chivas defender Danny Califf to the ball and nod it inside the far post.
  • Chivas USA head coach Robin Fraser made four changes to the team that fell to a late 1-0 defeat by the Columbus Crew at Crew Stadium. Jorge Villafana, Peter Vagenas, Shalrie Joseph and Casey Townsend all came into the team, in place of Ante Jazic and Alejandro Moreno and the suspended James Riley and Oswaldo Minda.
  • CHIVAS USA (4-4-2): Dan Kennedy - Ben Zemanski, John Valencia, Danny Califf (Jose Correa 81), Jorge Villafana - Nick LaBrocca, Peter Vagenas (Alejandro Moreno 61), Shalrie Joseph, Miller Bolanos - Ryan Smith (Juan Agudelo 80), Casey Townsend.


  • Chivas USA saw their winless streak extended to nine games – their longest since their inaugural season of 2005. Their five-game losing streak is tied for third-longest in MLS this season.
  • “[There were] several chances where we were just that one pass, that little bit of quality in that final pass, in that final shot, that final touch away,” Chivas assistant coach Greg Vanney said. “Games are won and lost by professionals making plays in moments where they need to make plays, taking a good first touch, getting a good shot on goal. Those are things why guys are professionals.”
  • Vanney filled the bench coaching duties after head coach Robin Fraser was asked to leave the field in the Columbus match.
  • Chivas also saw their goalless streak extended to 352 minutes (second-longest in MLS this season) in the loss at D.C. United, which followed a 1-0 loss at Columbus at midweek. Only Portland, with 369 minutes without a goal from July 14-Aug. 5, has a longer scoring drought.
  • “Any team that dictates possession in a game generally creates more chances so today it’s good that we controlled the game and dominated possession, although we didn’t make anything of it,” said forward Ryan Smith. “We should have won today, but we lacked clinical finishing in the final third. The coach gave us the game plan and in general we did well with it, but we lacked effectiveness.”
  • After playing the full match in the center of midfield at midweek, Ben Zemanski moved to right back with the return of Shalrie Joseph from suspension, his first start there this season. Zemanski started in place of the suspended James Riley.
  • “He settled in over time,” Vanney said. “In the grand scheme of things, I think he did a good job of defending and keeping his line. A couple of little things here and there, but you’d expect that from a guy who’s never played that position. He filled in and did perfectly fine.”
  • Peter Vagenas made his return to the Chivas USA lineup, his first start since May 26 and his first appearance of any type since July 18.
  • “We kept a lot possession, especially for playing on the road. It’s one of the first times that we’ve done it. It was a good defensive effort and we limited their chances,” said midfielder Nick LaBrocca. “We just have to use that possession in our advantage so that we can put one in the net. It was a positive adjustment for us.”
  • For a fifth consecutive match, José Erick Correa came on as a late substitute. His last start for Chivas came July 21.
  • “It was obviously to add numbers at top with the objective of finding a goal. Unfortunately, I couldn’t score and the goal didn’t come, but we have to keep working in order to improve in the remaining games of the season,” Correa said.


Real Salt Lake rebounded for their second victory in three games, defeating the Portland Timbers 2-1 on Saturday evening at Rio Tinto Stadium. Real sit in a tie for second place in the Western Conference with 49 points from 30 games.


  • Real took a two-goal lead before halftime on a pair of set pieces. From the edge of the box nearly straight out from goal, after Javier Morales was taken down by Portland defender Steven Smith, the playmaker used a little back-heel to feed Fabian Espíndola, who ran onto it and struck a left-footed rocket through the wall into the bottom right corner of the net.
  • RSL extended their lead in the 36th minute on a free kick from just outside the Portland penalty area. Morales once again drew the foul, about five yards outside the box on the left side, and this time did it all himself, stroking a beautiful, bending ball over the wall and to the top-left corner of the net.
  • The Timbers pulled a goal back in the 61st minute when winger Sal Zizzo sent a ball in from the right side and second-half substitute Bright Dike rose up high in the air to head home.
  • RSL head coach Jason Kreis made four changes to the team that suffered a 1-0 loss to the Houston Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium. Jamison Olave and Chris Wingert came into the back four for Kwame Watson-Siriboe and Chris Schuler, and Kyle Beckerman and Will Johnson started in midfield for Yordany Alvarez and Jonny Steele.
  • REAL SALT LAKE (4-3-1-2): Nick Rimando - Tony Beltran, Jamison Olave, Nat Borchers, Chris Wingert - Ned Grabavoy, Kyle Beckerman, Will Johnson - Javier Morales (Luis Gil 90) - Fabian Espindola (Yordany Alvarez 83), Paulo Junior (Emiliano Bonfigli 67)


  • With the victory, Real Salt Lake qualified for the MLS Cup Playoffs, the fifth consecutive year they will play in the postseason. Only the Columbus Crew – who enter the week in sixth place in the Eastern Conference – have the opportunity to match that feat.
  • “I think it was big. I knew it was going to be difficult for us after a long flight from Panama on Wednesday, and I think it was critical that we scored early and put ourselves in a position where we didn’t kind of have to struggle for it in the end…oh wait, we did have to struggle for it in the end,” said RSL head coach Jason Kreis. “On the other side of things, it was nice to not have to try to be putting in all kinds of attacking substitutions to try to find a goal, for once.”
  • Fabian Espíndola scored his first goal since June 16, when he netted a brace vs. Chivas USA. Javier Morales also ended a long scoring drought, his first goal since June 23 when he scored vs. San Jose.
  • “I think it was important that we got goals from Fabian Espindola and Javier Morales. … They were big-time plays from big-time players,” said Kreis.
  • For Morales, it was his second goal of the season directly from a free kick, his last goal also coming in that fashion. Of the 20 goals Morales has scored in MLS league play, seven have come directly from free kicks.
  • "I thought it was a very tough angle, you know, so maybe the goalkeeper didn't know if I was going to shoot at goal or cross to somebody's head," said Morales. "I had confidence to try to look at the goal, and I'm happy."
  • Real were missing Álvaro Sabório for a second consecutive match because of a sprained joint in his right shoulder. “I think we won a tough game,” said Morales. “We were a little scared before the game, because Sabo [Alvaro Saborio] wasn’t with us. He scores almost every game for us.”
  • Real have scored seven goals from set piece situations this season, fewer than just five other teams in MLS, and the fewest among the 10 teams currently in playoff positions.
  • “They're important, for sure,” Kreis said. “It is not something we really focus on. Maybe it is something we could try to focus a little more on. Both those goals just came from special individual play. It certainly isn't something we had worked on in training. Espindola's strike was fantastic, and Javier's one-upped him a little bit.”
  • After netting just three goals total in the last six games, Real scored multiple goals in a game for the first time since July 27.
  • “I think we could have scored five or six goals tonight. We got to put our opportunities away. Especially at home, and against teams who are fighting for their jobs. It’s only going to get harder and if we don’t put our chances away, other teams will,” said goalkeeper Nick Rimando. “I think three points is great, but we have to look at ourselves in the mirror and know that we did get lucky on getting three points.”
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