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Real Salt Lake 0 - Sporting KC 2 - recap, facts and post match quotes

Well if I were to comment much on the loss I would probably swear too much so I am going to leave it in the hands of the RSL Communications team who provide us with the following:


RSL Suffers Back-to-Back Defeats for First Time Since April 2010;

Claret-and-Cobalt Doomed by Espinoza and Bunbury Goals Late in First Half 

KANSAS CITY, Kansas (Wednesday, August 3, 2011) - Real Salt Lake saw two goals in quick succession spell its doom for a second straight contest, this time with Sporting Kansas City doing the honors in a 2-0 victory over the Utah side in front of a sell-out crowd of 18,467 at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park. The defeat resulted in Real Salt Lake's first back-to-back losses in a season-and-a-half, while the win pushed Sporting KC's undefeated streak to 14 games running. 

Much like in last Saturday's loss to Columbus, Real Salt Lake fell victim to a pair of tallies within five minutes of each other in the first half, but this time it was Kansas City doing the damage around the half-hour mark. The outburst began through MF Roger Espinoza in the 29th minute, when the Honduran split a pair of RSL defenders at the top of the area before slotting home to GK Nick Rimando's short-side just inside the left post. Five minutes later Rimando did well to reach back and keep Sporting KC FW Kei Kamara's header out of goal, but FW Teal Bunbury raced in to get on the rebound, which he slammed off Rimando from close range to push the lead to 2-0. 

Real Salt Lake would get the break it needed to climb back into the match in the 56th minute, when Espinoza saw a straight red card for a reckless challenge from behind on RSL captain Kyle Beckerman, giving the visitors a man advantage for the remainder of the match. While the Claret-and-Cobalt would outshoot the home side 14-3 from that point on, they couldn't push anything past Sporting KC GK Jimmy Nielsen, who made all four of his saves on the evening past the 70th minute.

more after the jump:

Real Salt Lake Match Notes

  • Real Salt Lake has dropped back-to-back matches in League play for the first time since April of 2010halting a stretch of 44 contests without consecutive defeats [4/17/10 @ LA (1-2 L) and 4/24/10 @ CLB (0-1 L)].
  • Teal Bunbury's 34th minute goal was the first allowed by Real Salt Lake during the middle half hour of a match in its 20 regular season contests to date. Despite the two goals allowed, RSL still stands second in MLS in goals allowed at 0.80 per contest, behind only Los Angeles (0.70/game heading into their match @ Portland this evening).
  • After the Espinoza and Bunbury tallies around the half hour mark, Real Salt Lake faced a two-goal deficit on the road for the first time in 2011, and for only the fourth time in its 20 regular season contests. However, it also marked the second straight contest in which the Utah side went down two goals after Columbus notched a quick pair last Saturday in RSL's 0-2 defeat to the Crew at Rio Tinto Stadium.
  • Real Salt Lake suffered consecutive shutouts for only the second time in 2011, the previous occasions coming in scoreless draws on May 14 against Houston and May 22 at FC Dallas.
  • Tonight's match for Real Salt Lake marked the first of 10 away matches in the team's final 15 regular season contests, and pushed its away mark on the season to 2-3-3. After this Saturday's home contest against New York, RSL will embark on its only three-game road trip of the season at Toronto FC (Aug. 13), Houston (Aug. 20) and Chivas USA (Aug. 27).
  • Real Salt Lake will protect its Rio Tinto Stadium home for the first and only time in August this Saturday, Aug. 6, when the Claret-and-Cobalt will play host to Thierry Henry, Rafa Marquez and the rest of the New York Red Bulls (6-5-12, 30 pts.). Tickets for the 7:00 p.m. MT kickoff (live on KUTV2),presented by XINSURANCE, remain available and can be purchased in online at, over the phone at 801-727-2700, or in person at the Rio Tinto Stadium Box Office weekdays from 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. and on gameday beginning at 10:00 a.m.





Goals by Period                                            1          2          F

Sporting Kansas City (7-6-9, 30 pts.)              2          0          2

Real Salt Lake (9-5-6, 33 pts)                         0          0          0 

Scoring Summary
SKC - Roger Espinoza 1 (unassisted) 29
SKC - Teal Bunbury 5 (unassisted) 34

Discipline Summary
- Nat Borchers (caution; Reckless Tackle) 47
SKC- Roger Espinoza (ejection; Serious Foul Play) 56
RSL- Fabian Espindola (caution; Dissent) 89 

Real Salt Lake- Nick Rimando, Tony Beltran (Robbie Russell 68), Nat Borchers,  Chris Schuler, Chris Wingert, Arturo Alvarez (Andy Williams 59), Kyle Beckerman, Colleen Warner (Luis Gil 65), Will Johnson, Fabian Espindola 

Substitutes Not Used: Tim Melia, Chris Agorsor, Jean Alexandre, Rauwshan McKenzie, Robbie Russell 

Sporting Kansas City - Jimmy Nielsen, Seth Sinovic, Matt Besler, Julio Cesar, Michael Harrington, Jeferson (Birahim Diop 80), Roger Espinoza, Graham Zusi, Kei Kamara (C.J. Sapong 75), Omar Bravo (Luke Sassano 92), Teal Bunbury 

Substitutes Not UsedEric Kronberg, Daneil Cyrus, Milos Stojcev, Soony Saad 

Referee: Hilario Grajeda
Referee's Assistants: Chris Strickland, Peter Manikowski
4th Official: Tyler Ploeger
Attendance: 18,467
Weather: Sunny and 93 degrees



General thoughts on the match... 

I thought Kansas City beat us mentally for most of the first half when they put us on our heels; they tried to press us on our half of the field. We made the unwise choice of continuing to pass out of that pressure and that led to us giving the ball away about 25 yards away and all of a sudden we gave up a goal, so we're on our heels even more and then we gave up the second goal. These are two things we've told our team now for several years. If goals are going to come against us they are going to come against when we give away balls cheaply and when we're not focused on defending dead balls.  

On failing to capitalize on the man advantage... 

To be up a man for that many minutes, there's not an excuse that we don't come out of here with at least one goal. So we were lacking a bit of quality in the attacking third of the field that I thought we were missing last match as well. 

On the team's morale moving forward... 

It better be real bad because my morale is real bad. We need guys right now to feel that pain because I honestly feel that we're at a precipice for our season right now. We need a huge game on Saturday, a huge effort, we need these guys to pull together and give absolutely everything they have because to have three losses in a row would be monstrously bad. 

On LIVESTRONG Sporting Park... 

Beautiful stadium. They've done a fantastic job here. I think that Kansas City should be proud of it, and I think the league should take some pride in it as well. I think all of us should feel good about where soccer is right now and where it's going when we have stadiums like this.


General thoughts on the match...

I take full responsibility for the first goal. I made a soft pass and we got punished for it. We're a lot better than what we've shown in the last two games. The biggest thing is that we need to pick up a win against New York. 

On the importance of the match against New York... 

It's a must-win game. They've kind of been struggling as well and it's a great chance for us to get back on track. I think we're going to get out of this and get those three points that we need at home. 

On LIVESTRONG Sporting Park... 

It's great, good atmosphere and a beautiful stadium. I think KC are doing a good job right now, all the credit to them. 


On Sporting Kansas City's attack... 

They're a great attacking team with a lot of weapons, and they play well at home. I thought they put us under the gun early and created a lot of chances. If you don't keep the ball [Sporting KC] will punish you, and that's exactly what they did in the first half. 

On the first goal... 

We turned the ball over and Espinoza cut two players and then had a one-on-one with me and had another player making a run. I had to play the shot and the cross, and he hit it hard near post and it went in. 

On the second goal... 

We've been preaching for a while now that we can't give up stupid goals off throw-ins. I had a save and it fell right to Bunbury. It's a tough one to take, but I thought we played a lot better in the second half. 

On playing at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park... 

I thought it was great, it was fantastic. I didn't think I'd ever say that Kansas City fans were good, but today they were all jumping and shouting together and the stadium was pretty much full. It's nice to have a stadium like this for a franchise that's been here for a while and it's good to have fans in the seats. It was a great atmosphere for them and you can tell that they played well with their fans behind them. 


Thoughts on the match... 

We weren't good enough. They played with a lot more energy especially in the first half and got a couple chances and scored. 

On LIVESTRONG Sporting Park... 

The stadium's state of the art, it's top notch. I'm really excited that the owners here put the extra money in and really did it up. It really is a treat for us soccer players. 


General thoughts on the match... 

I thought if you compare it to our last couple of games here at home and all the games that we've played throughout the season there is one other game I can compare this to and this was probably the best 90 minute performance that we've played all year. 

It just showed the commitment from the guys right off the bat.  We started from where we left off from the last game in the way we were pushing.  I thought our defense was strong.  It was very difficult for them to break us down especially when we were at even strength with them.  They didn't really have one chance from the first half.  

The guys recovered well and it's great to get a shutout a clean sheet.  That is big time for the team. 

On the performance of Roger Espinoza... 

Roger [Espinoza] was at a different level tonight.  Not just his goal but his pressing and anticipation on the ball.  I can't tell you much about the red card because I really did not see it and I didn't get a chance to see the replay even if there was one.  All and all very proud of the guys.  

Roger is aggressive.  He's not a dirty guy.  That's the one thing.  He's not that.  He's just an aggressive player.  He really did something that we talk about trying to win the ball high up the field.  I didn't see the play so I can't comment.  But the one thing I will say was that from the opening whistle his commitment to press the ball and cut out passing lanes was fantastic.  He didn't give up on any play.  Even his goal, the way he stole the ball, the way he then cut inside.  The way he went to goal with determination.  It wasn't just him.  Our allocation of players in that moment was very good and that was the reason why we were able to turn them over deep in their end.  But again our commitment was very strong. 

On recovering back into a playoff position... 

The guys have really dug down deep to get us back to where we are right now. It's a credit to them and their perseverance and work ethic game-in and game-out.  Training sessions, as much as we've had to travel up to this point, I'm extremely proud of them and we have another game this Saturday that we have to recover and get ready for. 

On the support from the ownership group translating to success on the field... 

A lot of it is credited to our owners for stepping up and doing what we do.  We have not only the guys who we have on our roster.  They are willing to invest the money in the team.  They are willing to invest the money in a stadium like this.  All of these things help.  Our training facility, all of that stuff.  It all adds to the puzzle.  That's been huge for us and I think the players appreciate it.  I know any other teams that come in here they see it, I think they're jealous. And they should be because when you come to a place like this, the people that are in charge, they care.  

I think all of that is helping and again I go back and say culture takes a long time to build, but the key is once you get it, that you continue to bring people in that adapt and adjust to your culture not the other way around.  I think what's happened is we have a nucleus of guys now that we have built over the last couple of years.  They have to adapt and adjust to what the culture of this club is.  The culture is excellent.  Like Jimmy said they're a team they care about each other they fight for each other they get it and the good thing is the policing isn't coming from the coaches but its coming from the players and when that happens you've really grown a lot.  

Thoughts on the United States Women's National Team coming to LIVESTRONG Sporting Park... 

I think it's great for them, coming into a facility like this.  I think that's the nicest stadium they've ever played in.  I think it's great for the city as well.  It just goes back to saying when you have a place like [LIVESTRONG Sporting Park] different teams get to come and obviously the women's national team who had an unbelievable World Cup play their first game in the United States here.   It's a credit to the ownership group and the stadium and everything the stadium has done to put us in that position. 


General thoughts on the match... 

I think we played probably our best game this season over 90 minutes; very solid. In the first half I don't think they had a shot on target.  When we got a man down we still played with big discipline and very aggressive and hard but fair. I think overall a credit to the whole team.  It was a tough performance by the team today.  

On being ready to play well from the start of tonight's match... 

We were all upset that we were giving away stupid things at the beginning of the game.  We were all ready. We talked about it after last game and we were all prepared today from the first whistle.  We stepped on the field as a team and we left the field as a team, just one guy less. 


General thoughts on the match... 

We took it to them, basically. We really controlled the flow of the game. We got those two goals in the first half and that was huge for us. That gave us room to kind of relax, and with the red card we started to play more defensively. So the two-goal lead was huge for us. 

On the quick turnaround for Seattle on Saturday... 

Well, we're used to the quick turnaround. We've been playing Wednesdays and Saturdays for about the last month now. We just need to get our bodies healthy again, and just come out the way we did tonight. Seattle is a good team, and during the week we really need to focus on the way we play." 

On playing with confidence at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park... 

I think that's what we did tonight. Instead of worrying who was coming in here we just knew we were at home. This is the place where we've played the best." 


General thoughts on the match... 

I feel like we did well. We've been stressing for the past two games to try to go out and get the first goal and start off with a better mentality. Tonight we did that and we got two goals in the first half, which is great. Then we had a red card in the second half, so for the last parts of the game we just had to defend. There were some great saves by Jimmy [Nielsen]. It was just a great night and we got away with a huge win. Now we just have to keep going. 

On the quick turnaround and facing Seattle on Saturday... 

Well the first thing is going to be recovering and getting ready to go on Saturday. Seattle is a great team, and we just have to come out there with the same mindset. We'll come out with our style of play no matter what team we're going up against.

There you go, more than you probably wanted to know, but no swearing from me.