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Real Salt Lake 1 - Philadelphia Union 1 - recap, stats and post match quotes

Well on Saturday RSL played awful in the first half, and then turned it around in the second half to salvage a 1-1 draw at PPL Park.  It was a tough fought match, I thought the official allowed a bit more physical play than he should but I don't believe that he called the match to the advantage of either team.  Now clearly when you read the post match quotes you will read that someone believes differently, I lost a lot of respect for Nowak last year when he didn't shake Jason's hand after the match, again this year his displays of poor sportsmanship continue as he first doesn't shake hands after the match, again, and then he goes on to complain about the officials.  I hope he gets a huge fine and a couple match suspension, if he didn't think his team got out played in the second half his isn't just a poor sport he is also delusional.  His team had plenty of chances in the first half, they failed to take advantage of them, get over it.

Here is the info from the RSL communications team:


FW Fabian Espindola Notches 2nd Goal of Week; MF Luis Gil Makes First Career MLS Start; GK Nick Rimando & RSL Defense Allow One Goal or Less for 10th Time in 12 MLS Games 

CHESTER, Penn. (Saturday, June 11, 2011) - Real Salt Lake (6-3-3, 21 points) completed its three-game week with a 1-1 come-from-behind road draw with the Eastern Conference-leading Philadelphia Union (6-3-4, 22 pts.) at PPL Park Saturday, refusing to bow to a halftime deficit. The makeshift strike partnership of FW Fabian Espíndola and Jean Alexandre struck again in the 54th minute, as Alexandre - the reigning MLS Player of the Week for his performance last Saturday in the 2-0 home win over Vancouver - won the ball at midfield and sprung Espíndola - now RSL's leading scorer on the season with three goals - through the Union defense, the 25-year old Argentine striker unleashing a left-footed blast from the top of the box past Philadelphia ‘keeper Faryd Mondragon.

RSL GK Nick Rimando made five saves tonight as he and the vaunted RSL defense have allowed just 7 goals in 12 games this season, holding the opponent to one goal or fewer in 10 of the team's 12 MLS games. Despite its 1.75 points-per-game average, Real Salt Lake currently sits in third place in the MLS Western Conference behind Los Angeles and Dallas and even with Seattle; however, RSL has played two fewer games than FC Dallas (7-3-4, 25 points), three fewer than Sounders FC (5-4-6, 21 pts) and four fewer than the Galaxy (8-2-6, 30 pts), with all three teams slated to play tonight or Sunday. 

more after the jump:

Real Salt Lake Match Notes

  • Real Salt Lake FW Fabian Espíndola moved into a tie with former striker Jeff Cunningham in 2nd place in the RSL all-time goal-scoring annals with his19th career goal, ahead of both Javier Morales and Jason Kreis. Former striker Robbie Findley leads the way with 29 goals all-time, while Cunningham scored 19 goals during his season-and-a-half with the Claret-and-Cobalt. Espíndola now has three goals on the 2011 campaign, halfway to his single-season high of six tallied last season.
  • 17-year old MF Luis Gil started and played 83 minutes today, his sixth MLS game and his eighth RSL appearance in all competitions. Today marked the first start of his six-game MLS career, having also started and playing 45 minutes last October in RSL's 3-1 home win over Cruz Azul in the 2010/11 CONCACAF Champions League Group A clincher.
  • Three RSL players - FW Alvaro Saborío (Costa Rica), FW Arturo Alvarez (El Salvador)  and MF Will Johnson missed today's game due to national team duty for 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup, the latter playing the full 90 minutes in the Maple Leafs' 1-0 win over Guadeloupe in Tampa this evening. GKNick Rimando will remain with RSL during the Gold Cup despite being named to the United States team, yet can be called into action at any time. The 2011 Gold Cup runs until June 25 at various U.S. venues.
  • Young Armenian FW Artur Aghasyan was active in his second MLS appearance tonight, the cousin of former RSL FW Yura Movsisyan playing the final 19 minutes after signing with the club on May 27.
  • Real Salt Lake returns home next week to kick off a Rio Tinto Stadium homestand, as 5 of its next 7 games for Jason Kreis' team and 7 of its next 10 MLS games will be played on the Wasatch Front. An additional home game could be added pending the results of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup 3rd Round draw, which dictates sites and opponents for the eight MLS teams that begin play on June 28.




Goals by Period                    1          2          F

Philadelphia Union                  1          0          1

Real Salt Lake                        0          1          1

Scoring Summary:  
PHI - Keon Daniel (Michael Farfan) 24

RSL - Fabian Espíndola (Jean Alexandre) 53

Misconduct Summary:  
RSL - Robbie Russell (caution, Reckless Tackle) 43

RSL - Jean Alexandre (caution, Reckless Tackle) 54

Real Salt Lake -- Nick Rimando; Robbie Russell (Tony Beltran 57), Jamison Olave, Nat Borchers, Chris Wingert; Kyle Beckerman (captain), Luis Gil (Collen Warner 83), Ned Grabavoy, Andy Williams; Jean Alexandre (Artur Aghasyan 71), Fabian Espíndola

Substitutes Not Used: Kyle Reynish (GK), Rauwshan McKenzie, Chris Schuler, Nelson González

Philadelphia Union -- Faryd Mondragon; Sheanon Williams, Danny Califf, Carlos Valdes, Jordan Harvey (Justin Mapp 57); Keon Daniel (Roger Torres 67), Brian Carroll, Kyle Nakazawa (Jack McInerney 73), Michael Farfan; Sebastien Le Toux, Danny Mwanga.
Substitutes Not Used: Juan Diego Gonzalez, Stefani Miglioranzi, Zach Pfeffer, Zac MacMath.

 Jorge Gonzalez
Referee's Assistants: Paul Scott; James Conlee

4th Official: Jose Carlos Rivero

Time of Game: 1:51

Weather: Cloudy-and-79-degrees
Attendance: 18,728 (sellout)



On the game tonight:

"We felt that it was a tale of two halves today.  We were pretty abysmal in the first half.  We weren't fighting enough, we didn't have that competitive spirit, we were second to everything.   In fact we were fortunate that we only allowed one goal.  But then the reaction in the second half was fantastic, superb. We were fiery, we possessed the ball better, we were more aggressive with our decisions, we spent more time in their half of the field. That's exactly the way that we want to play."

On the offensive leaders:

"It has to be collective through a number of players.  Probably the biggest impact player for us right now is Fabian Espindola.  He's been a guy who has been finding some spaces to turn the ball and go at things.  He's been an important, important player for us the last three games - he's scored two goals and he is working as hard or harder than any player on the field.  Andy Williams connected things tonight and everybody in the midfield has to take some of the slack and the forwards have to take some of the slack as well."

On the second half:

"It starts with mentality.  It starts with ‘We're going to fight for every ball, we're going to compete, we're going to try to get in their half of the field.'  From my point of view, the first half was controlled by Philadelphia and we controlled the second half in terms of possession.  I don't know if the numbers bear me out because I'm an emotional guy and my perspective may be skewed."

On Philadelphia's pressure in the first half:

"We were stretched out, we weren't keeping the ball at all, and we were allowing them to play in our half of the field.  Even if you can't pass the ball, sometimes you just have to clear it to create some space.  When we got down, our backs didn't come forward and we left way too much space for our midfield to cover.  So we were under the gun for sure.  Credit to Philadelphia - I thought they played very, very brightly in the first half and probably should have been up two or three."

On starting Luis Gil:

"He's a player who has really developed over the past year and a half.  We've taken a very patient stance with him, not trying to rush him, not trying to listen to other people's expectations of him, but just develop him as a player for him to be able to contribute.  He earned his opportunity tonight and we are also a little thin so we are going to have to rely on young guys like Luis Gil, Nelson Gonzalez, Collen Warner, to step forward, and I thought he did a pretty solid job.  It was a little shaky at the beginning but this is a great crowd here and a tough place to play and I thought he was better in the second half."

On the week as a whole:

"Going into this week, I set my goal for two points or more, and so I think that we did fall a little short of that with just the one point in the two matches. But sometimes it is more important how we play, not necessarily the number of points that we got.  So what we got in the second half was something that we can build off of."


On the Union's pressure in the first half:

"We're struggling right now; we're so thin pretty much everywhere with the Gold Cup and injuries. [Philadelphia] has been playing really well at home and they brought a lot of energy in the first half. The game's about tides - you weather a storm; you make the other team weather a storm. The first half, definitely we had to weather most of it. That's just the way it was."

On RSL's inability to possess the ball in the first half:

"We actually had some decent possession at times in the first half. We're just playing with a lot of new guys, so we just had to battle in the game. It's a tale of two halves."

On how happy he was with the second half:

"It was great. We pretty much felt like we were the home team in the second half."

On how the team feels about the draw:

"It seems like every team goes through a tough time, and we're going through it right now. Any points we can add on the road are good."

On the importance of Fabian Espindola's play for the team:

"He's been working really hard for us and playing really well. It was good for him to get rewarded for it."

On Espindola's goal

"It was great, definitely a momentum-changer. We got the goal and then we were able to get a lot of possession from it and kind of pin them in a little bit. If you have the ball, defending is a lot easier."


On Philadelphia's first-half pressure:

"We wanted to come out and strong and, in the end, I think we got a little bit stretched out at times. When the ball is turned over they were able to get at us and that's what a lot of our trouble came from. It got behind us one time and obviously that's where their goal got in. I think we adjusted at halftime and came out with a better attitude and better effort and we were able to get a goal."

On Philadelphia's five first-half shots:

"Coming into this, I knew they were going to get their chances. They're a good team, but I was prepared. I think all the guys were prepared. Again, we knew it was going to be a hard game; it wasn't going to be easy."

On what was done differently in the second half:

"We tried to keep possession a little bit smaller: we compacted ourselves and weren't so stretched from their forwards. We moved our line-up. When the ball was turned over we had players there to make the tackle."

On if he's happy with the draw:

"Yeah, 100 percent. Whenever you lose a game and you come back and at least get a point on the road (you're pleased). It's a tough place to play. They've got great fans here and great players on the field. We didn't have all of our guys, so to come here and get a point is good."

On the play of Fabian Espíndola:

"He's such a special player for us. He works so hard for us. We knew he was going to get a couple of chances and it's only a matter of time before he finishes them. He did well, took his time, got his chance and put it in the lower corner. I've seen that in practice, so I'm not really surprised."


On the process leading up to his goal:

"I took the ball and tried to cut past the defender. Got a little bit lucky, because he touched it. Then I had a pretty good shot and it was a goal."

On if he knew that Mondragon wasn't going to get to the shot:

"I was watching him ... he's huge. That's why I tried to put the ball next to the post."

On the match in general:

"They were so good in the first half. We played horrible. Then in the second half we took it a little bit more to the goal during play. Then we scored. Then, I feel like, since they were home, they had to go forward. They tried to get another one but they didn't. We did the job."

On if he was happy with the draw:

"Yeah. Yeah. In the first half we should have lost like, 4-1 or 5-1. They didn't score on their chances. We did, so I'm happy."


On the result of the match and Salt Lake's goal:

"Of course we had a number of chances in the first half, but we were really in control, we had a good talk in the locker room that we have to keep pushing for the second goal, and my point to you guys is simple: week to week, we are pretty confused right now, not only the coaching staff but the players as well.  We got the foul last week that was, as you might know, was a bogus call.  Now this week, when you see a replay of the whole [Salt Lake] goal, you scratch your head and ask why the whistle wasn't blown.  Week to week, we have to adjust to the different rules.  Maybe we are going to ask US soccer to send us the new rules of officiating and playing the game because except that shot, if you see what really happened, it's really amazing.  So from this perspective, we were in control, and after this goal, of course you settle down a little bit and try to get the second goal, and we should do more and try to come from the wings, but with three forwards in, you are going to expect more corner kicks and free kicks, but they stayed pretty good.  We gave them a chance, the referee gave them a chance to come back, they had one shot, and that's it the game is over.  I think that the locker room is pretty disappointed."

On the substitutions in the second half:

"We went for the second goal.  You never know what is going to happen with these weather conditions and so we want to put all these guys in a position where they can make the play.  We had some good headers from Danny Mwanga and Sebastien Le Toux, so it was more about creating stuff from the wings, with Roger [Torres] inside and I think that our defenders need to push a little harder and give us support from the wings as well."

On Real Salt Lake's goal:

"On the corner kick, we have everyone in the box and three guys back, and Michael [Farfan] had the ball, facing our goal.  And first he is held and then basically stumbled on, and they play to Espindola, and all of a sudden, a goal from nothing.  Playing at home, up 1-0 in the pocket, controlling the game, you give them life from nothing.  So I am upset - if you see the call from Colorado last week and then the [no]call this week, what is the justification in that?  We have been talking a lot around the league about inconsistency and now we're almost halfway through the season and we just don't see that on the field."

On Michael Farfan's play:

"Michael was hurt for a couple of weeks, so that always brings you back.  And you have to go back to your match fitness, and you could see that he was struggling at the end of the game.  I think that from his perspective, it is hot, it is humid, it is not going to get any better than that now.  So he has to get used to that again, and he came back this week."

On Keon Daniel's first career goal:

"It's a good play - a good run behind the defense, a good cross from Michael Farfan.  We told the midfielders and strikers that you have to cut in between the defenders and the goalkeeper, and Keon found a great spot and finished it well.  I have to see the play with him and Sebastien Le Toux - from my perspective, he wasn't offside, but I'm not sure that it didn't happen.  Sebastien and Danny Mwanga were a little unlucky today - they were in great spots, especially in the first half, to score a goal today."


On RSL's play:

"I think you put in guys in those guys' positions and they do the same role ...They all play the same way and interchange in the midfield. Throughout the game I hardly marked the right mid. It was usually one of the forwards sliding out. They're always combining, getting numbers on either side. It's just how they play. Regardless of who's in there, that's how they're going to play."

On playing through hard times and against teams lower down in the table:

"The last few games, we knew it was going to be a tough patch in the season. And I think we've done well. We haven't lost. So that's positive. And going into Vancouver, that's a tough place to play. They have a huge fanbase. It's a lot of travel so it's going to be tough. We'll have to bring our A game."


On the first half:

"It's a good start and you know we hope to start every game like that. That's definitely the way you want to start a game."

On not being up by more at the half:

"I think we hit the crossbar twice, hit the post. So just a bit unlucky. Definitely had chances and you know if you look at our games, some games we finish those goals off and we're up and sometimes we miss and don't finish the game off right."


On the first goal of his MLS career:

"I think I just anticipated; I reacted a little bit faster than my defender. I got in front of him and put my head through it.

I think it is good; it eases my mind to get on the score sheet. Contribute to the team. I think this will open up more time for me on the field." 

Was it deflating the way it came in a draw?

"I think that is football we worked hard and play well. I only had one chance to score, it went in, that is just the way the game goes." 


On the result:

"I was surprised that we tied; I think we played much better than Real. We had many opportunities and we could not put the ball in the back of the net." 

On his first half score that was called back:

"Yeah, I was surprised because the whistle came late and I did not look offside. I couldn't figure it out. I just kept playing through the play." 

On advice from Peter Nowak:

"He tries to keep pushing me and moving me around to give me more opportunities. We had like 22 chances today, but it was good to get Keon his first goal of his career."

One of the things I really enjoy about RSL is that when they win it is a team effort, when they lose it is a team effort, yes we all know that MLS officials are prone to bad calls, missed calls and mistakes, the difference between being a winner and winning is when you can not win and still not make excuses or blame someone else.  Peter you are better than this, I hope that when you come to Rio Tinto you will apologize to Jason and be a man.