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RSL against the Red Bulls!

Here are the starting line-ups for the Real Salt Lake and New York Red Bulls match.

Real Salt Lake

Nick Rimando, Robbie RussellJamison OlaveNat BorchersChris Wingert, Andy WilliamsKyle BeckermanJavier Morales, Ned GrabavoyRobbie FindleyFabian Espindola 

Kyle ReynishJean AlexandreTony BeltranPablo Campos, Rauwshan McKenzie, Nelson Gonzalez, Collen Warner

Jason Kreis - Coach

New York Red Bulls

Greg Sutton, Danleigh Borman, Tim Ream, Carlos Mendes, Chris Albright, Tony Tchani, Macoumba Kandji, Joel Lindpere, Seth Stammler, Juan Pablo Angel, Thierry Henry

Mike Petke, Andrew Boyens, Sinisa Ubiparipovic, Austin da Luz, Conor Chinn, Salou Ibrahim, Daniel Cepero

Hans Backe - Coach

Real Salt Lake has a chance to make history when they play host to the New York Red Bulls at Rio Tinto Stadium in a rematch of the 2008 Western Conference Championship.  RSL can equal the MLS record for the longest home undefeated streak (22), unbeaten in six (6) games after a scoreless draw at Toronto FC last weekend.  The Red Bulls have won on back-to-back weekends, defeating San Jose 2-0 at home last weekend.

There are some International absences in this game tonight on both sides.  Will Johnson was called up to the Canadian National Team in its friendly against Peru today.  Alvaro Saborio was called up to his Costa Rican National Team in its friendly against Jamaica on Sunday.  The New York Red Bulls (NYRB) have a handful of players out for todays matchup.  The most widely famous one is Designated Player (DP) Rafael Marquez, who was called up to his Mexican National Team in its friendly against Ecuador tonight.  Dane Richards was called up to his Jamaican National Team to play against Saborio's Costa Rican team on Sunday.  Roy Miller is playing along side Sabo on Costa Rican's National Side against Jamaica.  Bouna Coundoul was called up to the Senegal National Team to play a friendly against the DR Congo today.  Juan Agudelo was called up to the US U-20 National Team.

I just realized that my first RSL game ever was against the NYRB in the 2008 Western Conference Championship which RSL lost 1-0.  So, in the last two years, Real Salt Lake has gotten to the MLS Semi-finals, just one match from the 2008 MLS Cup Finals and last year as everyone knows, they won the 2009 MLS Cup.  Not a bad two year span there.  Let's see where RSL ends up at the end of this year. 

On to the game...

At '15 mark..

At '4 mark, Espindola gets a breakaway from Beckerman and shoots the ball into the goal. This is Espindola's sixth (6) goal of the seeson and assits from Beckerman (3) and Morales (7).  Henry hits a shot from 23m out that Rimando muffs but recovers and saves.  RSL has taken the lead and they have slowed the pace of the game to some degree and are controlling the tempo of the game.

At '30 mark...

At '18 mark, NYRB Tchani gets a Yellow Card. Morales and Espindola play at such a high motor that I have a hard time believing that they will be able to finish this game.  Espindola is all over the field right now.  The Argentine, Espindola, heads the ball into the NYRB goalie at '24 mark.  RSL's midfielders are controlling the ball so well that the NYRB have only had the ball four times on our side of the pitch.  Argentine Morales barely misses to the right of the goal from a set piece 30m out. 

At '45 mark...

Extremely close call off of a Red Bull corner kick that had Robbie Russell saving a goal.  Seems like the Red Bulls are getting a little annoyed from the fantastic ball control of RSL.  REd Bull, Kandji, just knocked down to RSL players within a span of a minute.  RSL is back to their old self...attack, attack, attack!  NYRB goalie just happened to be in the perfect spot (more luck than anything) on a Findley header at '37 mark.  That should have made the score 2-0.  Espindola had a breakaway again and NYRB Borman held him and received a Yellow Card.  New York's second Yellow Card of the night.  A bad collision in goal between NYRB's GK Sutton and RSL's Olave at '40 mark.  Olave receives a Yellow Card because of it.  That Yellow Card suspends him for next Thursday's match in Seattle against the Sounders.  Williams takes a shot on goal from 28m out and the goalie smothers it.    RSL 1-0!

At Half:

I have really enjoyed the pace of the game tonight and I have come to love Coach Kreis' mentality...Attack, Attack, Attack.  That is what RSL has been doing all night.  Both Argentine's, Morales and Espindola have been playing so hard tonight in this first half, let's see how they stand up in the second.  Beckerman has been his old self tonight controlling the pace of the game and being the commander on the field.  Findley seems to have stepped up his game in the first half. 

New York seems a little tense because of the pace of the game from RSL.  The two great strikers, Angel and Henry, have been non-existent in the game thus far.  Let's see what Coach Backe does with his team at half to make up for the non-ball-controlling first half.

Now back to the game.

At '60 mark...

There were no subsitutions at halftime.  I assume both coaches are happy with the play of all their players in the first half.  Nice stop by Olave in the box at '48 mark.  Campos substitutes for a spent Espindola at '48 mark.  I was wondering how much longer Fabian was going to be able to play in this game.  He give 190% all the time.  RSL's backline is playing absolutely fantastic tonight.    At '56 mark there were three (3) beautiful saves; one by Olave, Rimando and Beckerman.  NYRB should have equalized RSL on that volley of strikes.    New York has stepped up their pace and are looking very good.   

At '75 mark...

Beautiful save by Rimando off a Red Bull counter-attack at '63 mark.  RSL has really slowed the pace of the game down by controlling the ball in the center of the field.  Let's see if RSL turns up the intensity in the last quarter of the game.  Findley misses a great chance to put RSL by two goals at the '73 mark.  Sometimes I think that Mr. Findley just needs to "drill" the ball towards the goal.  Seems like he is thinking a little too much.  At '74 mark, NYRB's Albright gets a Yellow Card.  RSL is substituting Findley for Gonzalez at '75 mark.  Great shot that just squeaked over the crossbar on a set piece by Morales.

At '90 mark...

At '76 mark, NYRB's Kandji is replaced by Ubiparipovic.  RSL has had some great opportunities in the last three minutes with three great shots on goal.  It could easily be 3-0 RSL.  The announcers just stated that we have in attendance 19,113.  RSL is turning up the intensity in the last part of the game, like they always do.  Wingert takes a hard fall at  '88 mark but gets back up.  And RSL pulls out another win...1-0!!!

End of Game Notes:

Well, we pulled out another victory tonight and tied the MLS unbeaten streak at 22 games.  We played some fantastic ball control in this game and it showed by completely shutting down two of the best strikers in MLS, Juan Pablo Angel and Thierry Henry.  Our backline played great tonight.  There were a few lapses here and there but we managed to shutout New York 1-0!

Those three points brings us to only 1 point out of first place in the Western Conference and the MLS over-all.  After 23 games on the season, RSL stands at 12-4-7 and 43 points.  We are now 9-0-3 at home for the year.  The next game is September 9th at Qwest Field in Seattle against the Sounders.