Alvaro Saborio cuts his goal celebration short to go check on Javier Morales who was cut down by an elbow on the play. (photo by me)
Well once again a rather crazy match at Rio Tinto Stadium, after the match RSL head coach Jason Kreis mentioned he ask the team if he was ever going to get a match where he could relax in the second half. Knowing Jason with a 5-0 lead he still wouldn't be relaxing.
If you look at the stats from Saturday's match you can see how close the match really was, both sides had 13 shots, both sides had 7 of those on goal, both sides committed 16 fouls, and yes both sides ended up with 10 players on the pitch. RSL did attempt and complete more passes 431 attempts to 389, and a 83% accuracy rate for RSL to the Rev's 75%, which gave RSL the 52.4% advantage in possession despite being a man down for 20 plus minutes.
So one thing that I think is helping RSL early in matches is the fact that for back to back matches the $5 coupon for fans who enter before 6:45 has had the stadium filling up earlier than ever, clearly in Utah free food works as a bribe. It was a loud crowd of over 18,000 despite a rather chilly and windy night.
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It is kinda funny to me that just two weeks ago a large contingent of RSL fans were calling for the head of Alvaro Saborio, but again tonight everyone was cheering for him as his two goals were the difference in the match, and he could have had a couple more if it wasn't for the magic that Matt Reis had tonight, I think he probably picks up save of the week honors for the late 1 handed sprawled out save he made in the 96th minute, he might be in a battle with the one Nick Rimando made in the 71st minute of play. For me both keepers were out of this world tonight, a clinic in big dramatic saves.
It was funny that despite being ahead and down a man that RSL only went to their bench once tonight and that was the tactical change to bring Jonny Steele in to fill the spot of Will Johnson and taking Fabian Espindola out. I have to say that Fabi was really making his self a nuisance for the Rev's defense and was working hard on both sides of the ball, a shame he didn't get to celebrate a goal tonight (yesterday was both his birthday, and the birth of a baby boy). I loved the work that both teams put out there in this match, it was clear that New England came in with some guys not healthy so they had to change their tactics a bit, but everyone on the pitch for both teams worked hard all match. Again like with Kansas City, I hate that I won't get to see these two play again this year. There are too many good matches that are being missed because of this new schedule.
Oh and one other note, holy crap is Saer Sene big, I mean he is listed as 6'3 but either a lot of other guys in MLS are lying or he is closer to 6'5". He is going to be a difference maker in the this league for a while, and fun to watch when playing against other teams, not so much when he is playing against your team.
OK, those are my quick thoughts about RSL's 2-1 win over New England, the week ahead is busy for RSL as they will head to Chicago for a match Wednesday and then Seattle for one on Saturday, our 3rd set of 3 matches in 8 days already this year.
OFF MY SOAPBOX