Well for Real Salt Lake the 2011 season is over and while it ended sooner than most of us would have liked, here is all the official info from the RSL Communication team about last nights match:
REAL SALT LAKE'S RETURN TO MLS CUP FALLS SHORT AFTER 1-3 LOSS TO L.A. GALAXY IN WESTERN CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP
Despite Ample Attacking Chances, Utah Side Sees Season End in Disappointing Fashion to Reigning Supporters' Shield Holders; FW Álvaro Saborío's Third Playoff Goal Gives RSL Striker Share of MLS Postseason Scoring Lead
CARSON, Calif. (Sunday, November 6, 2011) - Real Salt Lake put up a fight for the ages Sunday evening against the #1-seed Los Angeles Galaxy in the 2011 MLS Western Conference Championship, but the third-seeded Utah side eventually ran out of time in a 1-3 defeat in front of 23,437 at The Home Depot Center that ended RSL's roller-coaster ride of a season one game short of reaching its ultimate goal of MLS Cup. The evening served a microcosm of the Claret-and-Cobalt's 2011 campaign, with the squad grinding through injuries, fighting back from an early deficit and coming achingly close on several chances, but in the end it was the home-standing Galaxy that would capitalize on their opportunities, with goals from MF Mike Magee and FW Robbie Keane after the break making the difference.
The night started with intrigue well before the opening whistle, as injured center backs Jamison Olave and Nat Borchers both made the 18-man team sheet just eight days after suffering quadriceps strains in the RSL's playoff opener against Seattle, with Olave's right quad recovering enough to be placed in the starting XI. RSL Head CoachJason Kreis had one other change in his first-choice XI from Wednesday night's semifinal second leg against Sounders FC, as Chris Wingert slid back from the middle of the back line and into his customary left back spot in place of Tony Beltran, whose yeoman-like 90 minutes in midweek marked his first match action in two months.
More after the jump:
The entertaining affair started with both sides earning early chances in the run of play, but it was a penalty kick in the 23rd minute that would move the scoreboard first for the home side. RSL MF Andy Williams' nudge in the back of Galaxy DF Omar Gonzalez sent the center back to the turf and earned a point to the spot by referee Jorge Gonzalez. Galaxy MF Landon Donovan made no mistake from there, slotting into the right side of goal to give LA a 1-0 advantage.
But the visitors would show their mettle just over two minutes later, when Olave got a head on MF Javier Morales' back-post corner kick, sending it to the top of the six-yard box. RSL striker Álvaro Saborío was in the right place at the right time, redirecting the ball just past Galaxy GK Josh Saunders to bring things right back to square at 1-1. Both teams would see chances bang off the woodwork in the opening half, with RSL MF Kyle Beckerman seeing his blast from the edge of the area clang squarely off the right post and out of danger during stoppage time, denying the visitors the chance to steal a goal - and the lead - entering the halftime break.
The second half would see Los Angeles jump on top once again in the 58th minute, when Magee squeezed between RSL defenders Robbie Russell and Chris Schuler to get on the end of MF David Beckham's cross from the right flank, his header glancing off the hand of RSL netminder Nick Rimando and into the back of goal to give the home side the lead back. RSL nearly followed its first-half script and answered immediately through FW Fabian Espíndola, but the Argentine's spinning rocket from the outer left corner of the area bounced off the underside of the crossbar, forcing the visitors to continue their comeback effort.
The Galaxy would double the advantage in the 68th minute, when Keane finished a lengthy run up the middle of the field by cutting back to gain space against Olave eight yards from goal before slotting low and inside the far right post to give Los Angeles some breathing room at 3-1. Despite numerous Real Salt Lake forays into the Galaxy final third across the last 15 minutes, none of its four shots would find their way past Saunders, leaving the Utahns to shake their heads at what could have been after a valiant effort.
Real Salt Lake Match Notes
- The 25th minute goal by RSL FW Álvaro Saborío kept him in a share of the 2011 MLS Cup Playoffs scoring lead, the Costa Rican striker now tied with the Galaxy's Mike Magee on top of the postseason scoring chart with three tallies.
- In addition, the corner kick service on the tally by MF Javier Morales marked his third assist of the 2011 postseason, putting him atop the category across MLS Cup Playoff participants alongside the Galaxy's David Beckham. The Argentine maestro now has six assists in 11 career postseason contests, the resulting 0.55 assists per game average placing 10th in league playoff history.
- While the season has come to a close for Real Salt Lake, four of its members will play on this week while wearing the colors of their national teams. MF Kyle Beckerman will join the United States senior team for European-based friendlies at France and Slovenia, while 17-year-old MF Luis Gil has been named as a late addition to the U.S. Under-23 National Team roster that will hold a concurrent camp alongside the USMNT. Back in the Western Hemisphere, MF Will Johnson will join the Canadian National Team in their quest to move onto the next round of CONCACAF region World Cup qualifying during a home-and-away with St. Kitts & Nevis, while MF Jean Alexandre will do the same for Haiti's senior side during a similar back-and-forth against Antigua & Barbuda that will settle things in Group F.
- Real Salt Lake will wrap up its 2011 season early this week with individual player meetings and exit physicals, the latter tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, during which the squad's final media availability opportunities will be held. The RSL Communications Department will announce the schedule for individual players' Wednesday availability via press release by Tuesday afternoon.
2011 MLS WESTERN CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP
LOS ANGELES GALAXY 3 : 1 REAL SALT LAKE
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 6, 2011
THE HOME DEPOT CENTER - CARSON, CALIF.
Goals by Period 1 2 F
Real Salt Lake 1 0 1
LA -- Landon Donovan 2 (penalty kick) 23
RSL -- Álvaro Saborío 3 (Jamison Olave 1, Javier Morales 3) 25
LA -- Mike Magee 3 (David Beckham 3, Robbie Keane 1) 58
LA -- Robbie Keane 1 (Landon Donovan 1) 68
LA -- Juninho (caution; Reckless Foul) 56
RSL -- Javier Morales (caution; Reckless Tackle) 70
LA -- Sean Franklin (caution; Delaying a Restart) 93+
Real Salt Lake -- Nick Rimando, Robbie Russell (Ned Grabavoy 70), Jamison Olave (Tony Beltran 82), Chris Schuler, Chris Wingert, Andy Williams (Luis Gil 75), Kyle Beckerman, Javier Morales, Will Johnson, Fabian Espíndola, Álvaro Saborío.
Substitutes Not Used: Yordany Alvarez, Paulo Araujo Jr., Nat Borchers, Kyle Reynish.
LA Galaxy -- Josh Saunders, Sean Franklin, Omar Gonzalez, A.J. DeLaGarza, Todd Dunivant, Landon Donovan, David Beckham (Michael Stephens 89), Juninho, Mike Magee, Chad Barrett (Chris Birchall 63), Robbie Keane.
Referee: Jorge Gonzalez
Referee's Assistants: Greg Barkey; Jeff Hosking
4th Official: Andrew Chapin
Time of Game: 1:53
Weather: Partly Cloudy and 57 degrees
MLS POST-GAME QUOTE SHEET
REAL SALT LAKE HEAD COACH JASON KREIS
On playing Jamison Olave:
"Nat [Borchers] felt a little hesitate about playing, so we chose to go with Olave. The plan was to push Jamison as long as we could. His big question mark was how long his muscle would last before just fatiguing beyond the point of being able to help. The plan was for Jamison to go as long as he could and then bring in Borchers for him. Obviously, when you are down a goal and pressing for things you don't want to have to do that. That plan was, of course, made thinking positively that we would have a lead to protect."
On the team's attacking:
"I thought we were okay; it wasn't our best night for sure. Difficult to do, but it's always going to be difficult to do when you are away. When you are home, you have that little bit more confidence and maybe an extra outside back or two that are joining with your numbers. There are simpler options there, but tonight, probably not as much as I would have liked. It's tough for me to say that when we hit the bar twice in that match. Once right before half time, once right after they scored their second goal. Either one of those go in and it's a different night. Was it a night we didn't attack well enough? Maybe, but we had chances to score and level the game, no doubt."
On the result:
"Tonight's game for me was a microcosm of the season. We had our disappointments; we had some moments of brilliance; we had some moments of averageness. So we are up, down, middle, but one thing that never changes is that our guys fought and fought and fought. Even when they are down two goals, they are fighting. There is no quit in our guys and I'm extremely proud of what they did in this game and more proud of what they did in the season."
REAL SALT LAKE MIDFIELDER KYLE BECKERMAN
On tonight's game:
"I think it was a game of storms. We put a little pressure on them, they put a little pressure on us, then we put a little pressure on them it seemed to go back and forth and back and forth and we are both creating some chances, but like I said they finished more than we did."
On shutting down David Beckham:
"For the most part I thought we did a good job. But obviously he whipped in a great ball for the second goal so I guess it wasn't good enough."
REAL SALT LAKE FORWARD ÁLVARO SABORÍO [Translated from Spanish]
On the team's performance:
"We needed to defend a little more and finish the chances we had. We didn't beat them like we did earlier in the season, but I am happy with our efforts tonight and proud of my teammates."
On tonight's game:
"I thought it was an open game. They took advantage of the opportunities they had and we hope they win the Cup."
REAL SALT LAKE MIDFIELDER JAVIER MORALES [Translated from Spanish]
On tonight's game:
"We didn't play our best game tonight. It was a close game. We tried to find a way to gain an advantage, but we couldn't find it. We played a really good first half. It was an even game. We had the opportunity to beat them with some of the chances we had. We hit the post and had two dangerous scoring chances. The Galaxy took advantage of the chances they had in the second half and we were playing with desperation to find a goal to tie the game. We knew it was the only thing we had left and we were careless in the back and they took advantage of their chances."
On the team's performance:
"It wasn't our best game but it was a game between two teams that are coming from playing three games in seven days. The game got a little complicated for us. The first half was very even but I think the difference was that they took advantage of their goal-scoring opportunities. When they went up 2-1 we lost composure in the back and then we gave up another."
LA GALAXY HEAD COACH BRUCE ARENA
On the result:
"Obviously, a great win. Two real good teams tonight. I think we saw a little bit of fatigue in the battle of two teams. It's our third game in eight days; Salt Lake's third in nine. It was really demanding on the players. I'm real proud of our guys, how they regrouped after each and every game. It didn't seem like we got too many advantages by winning the Supporters' Shield this year and getting on a plane. It's just been really challenging. We've beaten two really good teams-New York and Salt Lake. Tonight, certainly wasn't a perfect game. We scored some important goals. I think if any team needs two weeks off, it's our team. Hopefully, we can get our group ready for the final. It's not going to be easy. Houston's a very good team; they smacked us around pretty good a couple of weeks ago. We know we are going to have to be at our very best if we are going to beat them."
On Robbie Keane's performance:
"There was concern that he may not recover from the injury. Robbie told me that he is a quick healer. He certainly came back in terrific fashion. I think he got stronger with each game. Great goal tonight, but he could have a few more. He's really important to our team. That was an outstanding goal tonight. It was a great effort by our games, but I think that Salt Lake played very well."
On Mike Magee's performance:
"He's scoring clutch goals. Maybe it's the luck of the Irish. Mike's played real well. I'm real happy for him. He's scored some critical goals."
On the team's performance:
"Salt Lake threw an awful lot into the game. We thought as the game slowed down it would favor us. They had a fabulous effort the first half. I'd like to say they had to chase the game, but it didn't take too long for them to get the equalizer. I thought they threw an awful lot into the game, and we told our guys... when this game slows down it will favor us. Some of the passing we had to get behind and create some chances. It was terrific. With Mike's goal, that was the difference. The game settled down, slowed down. We took advantage of it."
LA GALAXY MIDFIELDER LANDON DONOVAN
On the team's performance:
"I'm real proud of the effort the guys put in all week. It was a tough week. Our guys did a great job and I thought we were excellent tonight."
On playing Real Salt Lake:
"It's a good team. The three games we played this week were the most difficult games we played all year. I thought tonight our energy was great. They had a number of chances. I thought it was a really good performance."
On the second half:
"We could taste it. We know were that close. We had a few early looks. And David [Beckham] made another unbelievable play and Mike Magee had another fantastic finish. We knew at that point we were going to win the game."
On attacking RSL:
"We knew that [Jamison] Olave would struggle. We knew that if he or [Nat] Borchers or both of them played they would be hindered. We wanted to get after them early and often. [Chris] Schuler did well, but he's still inexperienced and this is as big a game has he played, so we wanted to put them under a lot of pressure and make them make decisions."
LA GALAXY MIDFIELDER MIKE MAGEE
On the team's attack:
"We knew obviously that [Chris] Schuler was the guy that hasn't played, [Nat] Borchers was out and [Jamison] Olave was carrying a knock. We could have done a much better job finding Robbie [Keane] early on, but yeah, we were definitely trying to test them early on."
On the difference in the second half:
"At halftime we realized we weren't moving well. We weren't playing as hard as we should be for a conference final. We just realized that we wanted more than we showed in the first half."
On the pressure of winning MLS Cup:
"More pressure every game. We obviously set a goal to win MLS Cup, and it's been three years running now. There is a lot of pressure on this next game."
On scoring the second goal:
"David [Beckham] got the ball and whenever he gets it I try and get in front of the goal and he pretty much just banked it off of me."
On the atmosphere at The Home Depot Center:
"We love playing here. The crowd has been fantastic for us as you can see tonight. We enjoy playing at home."
LA GALAXY MIDFIELDER DAVID BECKHAM
On the postgame locker room celebration:
"We know there's one more game to go. So, we're not getting carried away. We did that a couple of years ago and we paid for it, we didn't win the MLS Cup final. Hopefully this will be something that we're happy to win tonight but we know that we have one more game."
On playing MLS Cup at The Home Depot Center:
"I think it's special. When it was announced that the MLS Cup would be at The HDC, I said it would be great if we could make it. Now we've made it, now we want to win it, simple as that. Tonight is a special night for the fans, for the manager, for the management as well, because Tim Leiweke, Phil Anschutz, they put a lot behind this team and they got two teams that they own in the finals. So, it's a special night for them, so congratulations to them, but as a team we need to be ready."
On the strategy to attack Salt Lake directly:
"I think you have to go at teams like Salt Lake, like that, because they are very good going forward. They have an abundance of talent throughout their team so you have to go at them direct. We have to defend well, and that's up to the back four and the midfield and Josh (Saunders) to perform, and all of them performed tonight. So, it's a thing you have to do against good teams and tonight we came up against a good team again. It's a great rivalry between us and Salt Lake, it has been for quite a few years, and it's nice to get one over on them. The last couple of years they've had one over on us, so it's a good night for us tonight."
On Mike Magee:
"He's on fire. His dad said to me the other night, ‘you keep finding his head', and, he is right. Hopefully it continues. We got, obviously, one more game to go and hopefully it continues. Mike knows how to get into positions, at the right places at the right times, and he's done that so far."
LA GALAXY FORWARD ROBBIE KEANE
On his goal:
"Two-one is never enough. So, it kind of came at a good time. The most important thing was getting the win and getting to the final."
On how he is feeling physically:
"I feel good. A couple of chances, I hit the post, again. I think I said to you boys, last week, it take me two or three games to get sharp. I have to give full credit to the all the physios and the staff, Armando (Rivas) especially. He worked really hard on me to get me fit and came back a lot quicker than expected."
On what allowed him to have so many scoring chances:
"Especially in the second half, when we got the second goal, of course they are going to open up, they have to go for the win. So, it opened up more in the second half than in the first half so we capitalized on that and lucky enough we got the third goal."
On his goal:
"Yeah, it was important. I've only been back, this is three games in a week for me and it's hard, I've been out for three-and-half weeks. But I will say, in three games you get your sharpness. And today I felt a lot sharper than I have in the last two games. So, I have two more games to look forward to with the Republic of Ireland, that'll be five games in two weeks. It's going to be tough but I'm looking forward to it."
Well there you go, probably more than you would ever want to know about a match.
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