Well it was a crazy night at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday, but despite the chaos of the 1-0 win and the post match concert, the good team at RSL Communications was able to get a bunch of great info together for us:
REAL SALT LAKE KEEPS ROLLING WITH 1-0 WIN
OVER SPORTING KANSAS CITY
DF Nat Borchers' 54th Minute Header All the Scoring Claret-and-Cobalt Need to Notch Fourth Straight Win;
Victory Vaults RSL over FC Dallas for Third Place in Western Conference Standings
SANDY, Utah (Saturday, September 17, 2011) - Real Salt Lake (14-7-6, 48 points) remained red-hot Saturday night against Sporting Kansas City, using a goal from DF Nat Borchers early in the second half to post a 1-0 victory in front of a sold-out crowd of 19,888 at Rio Tinto Stadium. With its fourth consecutive victory, Real Salt Lake (14-7-6, 48 pts.) moved in front of FC Dallas (46 pts.) in the crowded Western Conference standings and kept pace with second-place Seattle (51 pts.), who defeated D.C. United 3-0 to rebound from RSL's victory at CenturyLink Field last weekend.
With no love lost between the two squads, it comes as no surprise that tonight's contest was one of the more physical affairs for Real Salt Lake this season, as RSL and Sporting KC (10-9-10, 40 pts.) racked up 17 fouls apiece to go along with a pair of yellow cards issued to both clubs. It took until the 54th minute for the home side to put its first shot on frame, but it was well worth the wait thanks to Borchers' third tally of the season. RSL's recent penchant for set-piece finishing came to the forefront once again, as MF Kyle Beckerman's service off a free kick from 35 yards found the head of Borchers, who nodded home strongly past KC netminderJimmy Nielsen to push RSL out front. Nielsen's opposite number for RSL, GK Nick Rimando, made all four saves he was called upon to register his 50th shutout in an RSL uniform, and the 86th of his illustrious MLS career.
more including quotes from the locker rooms after the jump:
Real Salt Lake Match Notes
- With its leap into third place in the Western Conference standings, RSL (48 pts.) would claim one of the three automatic qualifying spots from the West into the 2011 MLS Cup Playoffs if the postseason began today alongside Seattle (51 pts.) and Los Angeles (58 pts.), both of whom collected 3-0 wins at home over D.C. United and Vancouver, respectively, this evening.
- Real Salt Lake now owns two of the three four-match winning streaks in Major League Soccer this season, equaling its run to begin the 2011 regular season (3/19 @ SJ through 4/13 v. COL). Los Angeles owns the season's only other four-match winning run (5/14 v. SKC through 5/28 @ NE).
- The goal for DF Nat Borchers was the third of the season for the RSL center back and reigning MLS Best XI defender, giving him a new single-season high in the category for his seven-season MLS career. In addition, the tally was his second game-winning goal of the season, going along with his opening salvo in RSL's 3-0 win over the Utah side's next opponent, the New York Red Bulls, back on August 6 in Sandy.
- Captain Kyle Beckerman continued to flex his scoring muscle, as his free kick service on Borchers' header upped his career-best assist total to nine on the season, good for fifth place across MLS in 2011. In addition, the deft chip allowed him to tie David Beckerman for the MLS-lead in game-winning assists with six - that is, until the Galaxy midfielder notched his seventh on Mike Magee's opening goal in LA's 3-0 win over Whitecaps FC at The Home Depot Center.
- Unfortunately for Real Salt Lake, the squad will be without Beckerman for Wednesday's contest at New York, as the captain picked up a yellow card for dissent that resulted in an automatic one-match suspension for caution accumulation.
- Goalkeeper Nick Rimando continued his impressive 2011 campaign, tying FC Dallas' Kevin Hartman for the MLS lead with his 12th shutout. Rimando now has 50 of Real Salt Lake's 61 all-time shutouts in regular season play. In addition, Rimando's 13th win of the year pulled him even with Hartman for second place on the MLS charts in 2011, the duo sitting one behind league-leader Kasey Keller of Seattle.
- The 19,888 in attendance marked Real Salt Lake's third sellout of the MLS regular season (3/26 v. LA and 7/23 v. SJ), and fourth in 2011 when factoring in the CONCACAF Champions League Final against Monterrey on April 27.
- Real Salt Lake will look to collect the first five-match winning streak in MLS play on Wednesday, Sept. 21, when the squad takes to the field in the first game of its week-long East Coast road swing at the New York Red Bulls. Kickoff from Red Bull Arena is set for 6:00 p.m. MT and can be followed live on KMYU-TV 2.2, ESPN 700 Sports and Juan 1600-AM. In addition, RSL fans can join together to view the contest at any of the Official ESPN 700 Watch Parties, being hosted at all six ‘Bout Time! Pub & Grub locations across the Salt Lake Valley.
REAL SALT LAKE 1 : 0 SPORTING KANSAS CITY
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 2011
RIO TINTO STADIUM - SANDY, UTAH
Goals by Period 1 2 F
Real Salt Lake 0 1 1
Sporting Kansas City 0 0 0
RSL - Nat Borchers 3 (Kyle Beckerman 9) 54
RSL -- Chris Schuler (caution; Reckless Tackle) 12
KC -- Aurelien Collin (caution; Reckless Tackle) 28
RSL -- Kyle Beckerman (caution; Dissent) 69
KC -- Graham Zusi (caution; Reckless Foul) 93+
Sporting KC -- Jimmy Nielsen, Michael Harrington, Aurelien Collin, Matt Besler, Seth Sinovic, Roger Espinoza (Davy Arnaud 81), Julio Cesar (Jeferson 86), Graham Zusi, Kei Kamara, Teal Bunbury, Omar Bravo (C.J. Sapong 69).
Substitutes Not Used: Peterson Joseph, Lawrence Olum, Soony Saad, Eric Kronberg.
Real Salt Lake -- Nick Rimando, Robbie Russell, Jamison Olave, Nat Borchers, Chris Schuler, Andy Williams, Kyle Beckerman, Luis Gil (Ned Grabavoy 59), Will Johnson, Alvaro Saborio, Fabian Espindola (Jean Alexandre 89).
Substitutes Not Used: Arturo Alvarez, Paulo Araujo Jr., Blake Wagner, Collen Warner, Tim Melia.
Referee: Ricardo Salazar
Referee's Assistants: Craig Lowry; Peter Manikowski
4th Official: Tyler Ploeger
Attendance: 19,888 (sell-out)
Time of Game: 1:51
Weather: Clear and 63 degrees
RSL POST-GAME QUOTE SHEET
REAL SALT LAKE HEAD COACH JASON KREIS
On Real Salt Lake grinding out a three-point result:
"I believe that this team can win in multiple ways. I think it sends a message to the rest of the league that if a brawl is going to break out and it's going to be a wrestling match, well, we can win that way too."
On RSL's size advantage over Sporting KC:
"We talked (Friday) and thought it would be a major advantage point for us because of the size we had out there between (Chris) Schuler, (Jamison) Olave, (Nat) Borchers, (Álvaro) Saborío and (Robbie) Russell. We felt like we could outnumber them with our size and that was the first quality service that got into the right portion in front of the goal. Credit to Kyle (Beckerman) for a great service and credit to Nat for a real composed header. It's a numbers game. If we have five people over six feet tall and they have four, then we need to find the one that's got a bad mark."
On the recent playing form of RSL midfielder Andy Williams:
"It seems like this time of year is Andy Williams' time. The amount of work that he's putting in right now is incredible and he obviously deserves to keep playing when he does that."
REAL SALT LAKE MIDFIELDER KYLE BECKERMAN
On assisting on the game's only goal:
"After I hit, it I knew that it was dangerous, that it was going to get over their defender, and then Nat's been great (on headers). He found a way to knock it in. You just kind of try to get into a dangerous area, and once you get it in there we've got some big boys that go up after it and are really good at finishing with their head."
On being suspended for Wednesday's game at New York due to yellow card accumulation:
"I knew [I was on warning], but it was going to happen. I could use a rest, so I'll take a rest next game and be ready [for D.C. United]. It's not much of a rest, so I'll just be ready for Saturday."
On Real Salt Lake's focus on free kicks:
"I think we're focused on them both offensively and defensively. If there's going to be a game that's going to be decided with free kicks then you better be good at them and try and really focus on them because in a game like this that can be the decider of the game. Tonight it was."
REAL SALT LAKE DEFENDER NAT BORCHERS
On the play that led to his goal:
"It was kind of funny. It was almost like Kyle and I drew it up like a play in basketball. I just made sure I curled my run, he hit the perfect ball, and Jimmy Nielson's in no-man's land. It's a pretty easy goal. Usually Javier has taken those in the past and has been fantastic, and now with Kyle, he's putting in excellent balls, so those are easy to finish. We work on them in training every now and again, which helps."
On matching up RSL's big men with Sporting KC's on free kicks:
"We actually looked at the matchups and honestly thought that (Jamison) Olave had a better matchup with (Matt) Besler on the set pieces, so we were trying to get him free. But in that situation they held a high line and then, fortunately, dropped at the right time and I timed my run perfectly."
On the rhythm of the game:
"I think it's tough for us, it's tough for the fans. The refs were calling it tight tonight because they knew it was going to be a physical game. They didn't want things to get out of hand. You want to see more flow in the games. I think it's more fun to watch and it's more fun to play."
SPORTING KANSAS CITY HEAD COACH PETER VERMES
On the overall play of his team:
"We were very good in the run of play. I walk away thinking we played very well tonight and could have walked away with something more then zero points. But credit to Real, a good team, and I'm sure that if we keep playing the way we are, we will meet in the playoffs at some point."
On the physicality of the game:
"The game was a battle from the first minute for both teams. Tonight it was a man's game and I think both teams did well in that aspect."
On the play of RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando:
"The difference in the first half was Nick (Rimando); he was excellent. He saved probably two, three very good chances, kept a clean sheet and kept them in the game in that perspective."
SPORTING KANSAS CITY FORWARD TEAL BUNBURY
On the 1-0 result:
"It was a good test for us, and I think it was a good performance by both teams, it was very physical and give credit to Real Salt Lake, they were able to capitalize on one of their few chances."
On playing on the road for the first time in two months:
"Obviously the home games were great for us with the atmosphere, but we have to play these games away against good opponents when it comes time for the playoffs."
On Real Salt Lake's home field advantage at Rio Tinto Stadium:
"It's a good atmosphere, it's a good field and it's the support of the fans. It's an exciting atmosphere and they really get their fans going and I think that gives them an edge."
SPORTING KANSAS CITY MIDFILDER GRAHAM ZUSI
On the team's strong first half:
"We knew coming into this game it was going to be a fist-fight throughout the whole match. Initially I thought we did a really good job in the first half by putting pressure on them and not giving them anything."
On how the team responded to being back on the road:
"I thought we did a very good job of coming out after a long home stand, not missing a beat and putting a lot of pressure on them for the better part of the game."
Well folks there you go, a ton of great information about the match. It is going to be a busy couple weeks for Real Salt Lake who will play 5 matches between Wednesday (at New York) and Oct. 6th (at Vancouver).
OFF MY SOAPBOX