Well Real Salt Lake were unable to get a result against the Rapids that would move them to the top of the Western Conference but with San Jose and Vancouver both out of action this weekend no ground was lost. Even with the Sounders beating LA RSL hold on to second place by 5 points over Seattle and 8 points over Vancouver, and just 2 points behind San Jose. Still it was a loss that saw RSL simply not play up to their capabilities and while it could be fatigue from their travels to Costa Rica, it just seemed a bit lack luster of an effort in a match that could have seen us go to the top of the table.
Here is the official match recap from the RSL Communications team:
REAL SALT LAKE FALLS 1-0 AT COLORADO
Claret-and-Cobalt Miss Opportunity to Climb Into 1st-Place in MLS
COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (Saturday, Aug. 4, 2012) - Real Salt Lake (13-8-3, 42 points, West #2) missed an opportunity to vault into first-place in MLS on Saturday, falling 1-0 at theColorado Rapids (8-14-1, 25 points, West #7) in the 2012 Subaru Rocky Mountain Cup finale. MF Joseph Nane scored for the Rapids, which beat RSL for the first time since May 2009 - a span of eight games.
The Rapids had the better of the early play and nearly took the lead in the 12th minute. MF Joseph Nane collected a loose ball at the top of the box, ripping a first-time shot past RSL GKNick Rimando and off the crossbar.
Real Salt Lake hit back with a good look of its own in the 15th minute. RSL debutant - and Salt Lake City native - FW Justin Braun ran onto a cross from MF Jonny Steele at the left post, forcing Colorado GK Matt Pickens into a fine save with a strong header. Several RSL players had good looks during the ensuing goalmouth scramble, but none could find the back of the net.
The game settled down after Braun's chance, with both teams battling for midfield control and struggling to create chances.
Things headed up again in the 38th minute, when the Rapids took a 1-0 lead through Nane. DF Drew Moor started the play, crossing to the left post, where MF Jaime Castrillon hit a strong header toward goal. The ball took a hard ricochet off of RSL DF Kwame Watson-Siriboe, bouncing out to Nane who took a touch and buried a 12-yard shot into the roof of the net.
more of the recap after the jump as well as post match quotes from the locker room:
Nane's goal took the teams into halftime, which saw RSL bring on FW Fabian Espíndola for FW Álvaro Saborío. Colorado made a substitution of its own early in the second half, subbing on MF Wells Thompson for injured DF Tyrone Marshall and moving Brian Mullan from midfield into defense.
Colorado had the first chance of the second frame, getting yet another good look in the 54th minute. FW Omar Cummings created the opportunity, combining well with Thompson before playing DF Luis Zapata through in the left side of the box. Zapata couldn't take advantage though, sending a weak 15-yard shot wide of the far post.
Unsatisfied with his team's performance, RSL head coach Jason Kreis used both his second and third subs in the 63rd minute, bringing MF Will Johnson and FW Emiliano Bonfigli on for Steele and Braun, respectively. But the changes didn't do much for RSL, which continued ceding chances. Castrillon very nearly made it 2-0 in the 68th minute, latching onto a ball at the top left corner of the six-yard-box before toe-poking his shot off of the near post.
The Rapids continued searching for a second goal and nearly found it on two separate occasions in the 75th. The first chance fell to Cummings, who collected a loose cross just inside the penalty spot before firing off of a RSL defender and out for a corner. The second chance fell to Castrillon, whose close-range shot off of MF Jeff Larentowicz's padded header forced Rimando into a solid save.
RSL - which was playing its third game in eight days on Saturday night - couldn't muster any significant chances for the rest of the game. The Claret-and-Cobalt will look to bounce back from Saturday's defeat on Aug. 11, when they'll travel to Vancouver to take on Whitecaps FC.
Real Salt Lake Match Notes - RSL 0-COL 1
- By losing on Saturday night, Real Salt Lake missed an opportunity to move past the idle San Jose Earthquakes and into first-place in both the Western Conference and MLS. RSL would have had a one point lead at the top of the table had they beaten the Rapids on Saturday.
- Saturday's loss broke RSL's eight-game unbeaten run against Colorado - a streak that ran back to May 2009. That streak is RSL's longest ever unbeaten run against any one team.
- Real Salt Lake FW Justin Braun made his RSL debut on Saturday night, starting the match up top and playing 63 minutes before being taken off. The Salt Lake City native was acquired in a trade with Montreal on July 11. He'd made the bench in every match since joining RSL, but hadn't played in a game until Saturday.
- Though the club lost on Saturday, RSL still retains the Subaru Rocky Mountain Cup. The Claret-and-Cobalt clinched the team's sixth-straight Cup on July 21, when they beat the Rapids 2-0 at Rio Tinto Stadium.
- RSL returns to action next Saturday, when they'll take on Vancouver Whitecaps FC at BC Place. Real Salt Lake beat Vancouver 2-1 on July 27 at Rio Tinto Stadium.
- Saturday's result broke Colorado's franchise-record six-game losing streak - a run that dated back to June 30.
Jason Kreis, Real Salt Lake head coach
On what the team needs to do to move on:
You just do what you can. You talk to the players. You can see that a few guys needed a rest. We've just got to be mindful of that as we go through the last part of the season. We've had some experience before where we've worn our guys out so to speak and then we get to the playoffs and we don't have enough energy to do what it takes.
On Colorado getting the win:
I think they just wanted it so bad. We've been there in difficult patches where you just haven't had the result that you've wanted for a long time and you're just doing everything you can to get your body in front of things and make tackles and plays in the defensive third of the field. That's what [the Rapids] did tonight. There's no doubt about it. It's my strong belief that in this league, unless every single time, the team that wants it more typically get the result. I think the teams that are evenly matched up, the difference in quality right now, San Jose, and I'm not sure who the last place team in our league is, is very small.
On the rivalry with Colorado:
It's good for the league. I'm glad to be a part of such a rivalry... What a great crowd Colorado had tonight and we're pleased our fans were there as well. I think it makes for a more emotional game, and tonight was one of those.
Tony Beltran, Real Salt Lake defender
On the loss:
Obviously we're all disappointed. We had the opportunity to take over first place and we didn't take it. But still, it's just a big letdown. I think we could have done better tonight. I think at times the soccer was good but it wasn't a complete performance in any way.
On whether the trip to Costa Rica affected their play tonight?
I don't think it should. We're all professionals. We're doing a good job of taking care of our bodies so maybe something to it, but still it shouldn't affect us out there.
On what happened on the goal:
I think it came off of a throw in, it went towards the back post and [Jaime Castrillón] got over me, he hit the crossbar and deflected out and [Joseph Nane] took a good shot. We were kind of leaving Nick [Rimando] stranded there so I should have won that ball on the back post.
Justin Braun, Real Salt Lake forward
On the match overall:
Obviously it didn't go the way we wanted it to. I thought the team played well though. In the first half we created some things and unfortunately we didn't get a goal but we pushed for it in the second half and weren't able to get it. We've just got to get it behind us. We've got another game coming up next week. Hopefully we can go up to Vancouver and get three points there.
On making his debut with Real Salt Lake:
It was a dream come true. It's something I've been kind of dreaming about since five years ago up in the stands. I've been watching them play. SO to be able to put on that jersey was an honor and I'm looking forward to being able to do that more often.
On his performance:
It was okay. There was a lot that could have been better out there. Obviously it's a new team and it's my first time playing with the group. So I'm still learning kind of the way that some of the guys play and their tendencies and trying to play off them. But overall I think I'm okay with it. I'm not happy but I'm just going to keep moving forward.
Oscar Pareja, Colorado Rapids Head Coach
On the Rapids getting their first win in six matches:
I thought it was a very good game. The boys were very happy with the result, with the three points to get out of that hole. We spoke during the week to the boys. We said we still have time and we're going to keep fighting. They have been pushing, they have been trying, they have been fighting. Today they got the result they deserved, and many of our games, they deserved it but they don't get anything. Today I was truly proud of them.
On if that was the Rapids most complete defensive game of the season:
Today was very solid from the backs to the forwards. It is a great day for them because they know that they can do it. As I say, sometimes the game is cruel and doesn't give you what you deserve. Today they get a great three points.
On what he hopes the Rapids get out of this win:
They worked this week with a lot of joy despite all of the hard moments that we've had. Obviously losing against Seattle last weekend after a good performance, it was another game where we came out with disappointment and they worked this week with a lot of joy and energy. Last week, that game helped, and today they showed it. They showed a lot of character, personality, and hard work.
On Joseph Nane's role in the offense:
Jo has brought us a lot of balance. I think he's doing a great job with Jeff [Larentowicz] in the middle. Because he's very technical, he had some good chances in the first half and contributed a great goal.
Matt Pickens, Colorado Rapids goalkeeper
On earning his 40th career win:
It's good. It's a team thing and it goes out to the guys that have been here since I've been here, and the guys that used to be here as well. For me, it's not an individual thing, it's a team think just like the shutout record earlier this year. It's a great night to get it against Salt Lake and turn the streak around.
On winning against Real Salt Lake:
I think it was the way that we won. We held a lead. We held a lead at home. And we held a lead for a half and then another half. So for us that's good. We've gone up in the past and then given up two goals and then we end up losing so it's good a good confidence builder for us defensively. We know that we can do this and all we need is one goal to win and come out with three points.
On the doing the little things that made a difference:
I think we defended our set pieces pretty well and that's what we wanted to do. We knew it was going to come down to that. We knew that [Javier] Morales was going to dance around in our final third and then he would get tripped up and they'd look for that. I thought we were tuned in tonight and it showed here on the board.
Joseph Nane, Colorado Rapids midfielder
On hitting the crossbar before scoring:
About the crossbar: it was a one-touch finish I was trying to do, but unfortunately it hit the crossbar. The second one, I just decided to settle it down, put it on my best foot - my left one - and hit the target. That's all it was. Nick Rimando deflected the ball, but it was always going in.
On scoring the first goal of his career:
I've been waiting for this for a long time. I was wondering [if] it was ever going to come, but it's nice that it's finally there.
On helping the team to a much-needed win:
We've got to start somewhere, whether it's with me or somebody else. It's a relief, you can actually see it in the locker room, everybody is happy. That's what we wanted. "
It was Joseph Nane who scored the only goal of the match, and I think what was frustrating to me is that he had twice been left alone in the same area of the pitch and put quality efforts on goal, how he was left un-marked there a third time is a bit baffling to me and sure enough it cost RSL not only a goal but a match.
I can understand how the match might have lacked a bit of "prestige" of Champions League, or a normal RMC match with the cup already won, or even the "importance" of the upcoming match against Vancouver, but it just looked like something was really missing for RSL and hopefully the team will be able to get it together when they head to Vancouver.
OFF MY SOAPBOX