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Real Salt Lake 0 - Chicago Fire 3 - match recap and post match quotes

OK, it was a crazy and chaotic night at Rio Tinto and yet the folks at RSL Communications were able to put together all this info for you:


RSL Captain Kyle Beckerman Issued Early Ejection, Fire MF Marco Pappa Notches Hat Trick in Utah Side's Second Straight Defeat; Record Rio Tinto Stadium Crowd Welcomes MF Javier Morales Back to the Field after Nearly Five-Month Absence

SANDY, Utah (Wednesday, September 28, 2011) - Real Salt Lake (15-9-6, 51 pts.) suffered a heavy defeat to Eastern Conference opposition for the second straight contest, this time dropping a 0-3 result to the Chicago Fire (7-8-15, 36 pts.) in front of a record crowd of 20,762 at Rio Tinto Stadium. The loss, fueled by a hat trick by Fire MF Marco Pappa, denied RSL a share of second place in the Western Conference standings alongside Seattle and all but removed the Claret-and-Cobalt from consideration for the regular season Supporters' Shield title.

For a third time in a week in an RSL contest the scoring got off to a fast start, but, like in last Saturday's loss at D.C. United, it was the other side doing the damage early. Pappa would begin his career night just nine minutes in, as quick feeds from midfielders Patrick Nyarko and Daniel Paladini put the Guatemalan into enough space to fire a rare right-footed shot that dipped inside the far right post to give the visitors the advantage. Just two minutes later, Paladini was in the center of another pivotal play, as RSL captain Kyle Beckerman head-butted the Fire midfielder off the ball, resulting in a straight red card being issued by referee Baldomero Toledo.

Down to 10 men, Real Salt Lake would be forced to concede space in the midfield, and it was Pappa taking advantage in the 36th minute when he ran onto MF Pavel Pardo'sthrough ball and slotted low and inside the left post to double the Chicago lead. Pappa would remove all doubt of an RSL result in the 75th minute, when he beat two defenders on the right flank before cutting inside and firing into the far left-side netting.

One of the few bright spots on the evening for Real Salt Lake was the much-anticipated return to the field by MF Javier Morales, as the Argentine entered to a hero's welcome at the hour mark. The influential playmaker nearly put his stamp on the match straight away with a free kick delivery, but countryman FW Fabian Espíndola header the effort wide. The 31-year-old Morales showed no signs of struggling from the ankle injury that forced him to miss RSL's last 23 contests, helping to create a handful of chances and displaying his trademark creativity and distribution while trying to shake off more than four months' worth of rust at the same time.

more facts, stats and quotes from the locker rooms after the jump:

Real Salt Lake Match Notes

  • Tonight's massive midweek crowd at Rio Tinto Stadium surpassed the squad's previous record at its Sandy home, the old mark of 20,507 being set during this year's MLS regular season opener against the Los Angeles Galaxy on March 26 (4-1 W).
  • After rattling off Major League Soccer's only five-game winning streak of the season to start off the month of September, RSL has now dropped two contests in a row, marking the Utah side's third such occasion of the season, all coming in the last two months.
  • Real Salt Lake will look to end its brief downturn and keep its slim Supporters Shield hopes alive this Saturday, October 1, when the Claret-and-Cobalt head to The Home Depot Center to take on the West and MLS-leading Los Angeles Galaxy (17-3-10, 61 pts.). The 8:30 p.m. MT kickoff can be seen live on KMYU 2.2 (Comcast 22 / Dish Network 12) and listened to on Rock 99.1-FM (English) and Juan 1600-AM (Spanish). In addition, fans can gather together to watch the proceedings from SoCal at any of the six ‘Bout Time Pub & Grub locations across the Salt Lake valley playing host to the Official ESPN 700 Watch Parties for Real Salt Lake.
  • With tonight's contest in the books, Real Salt Lake finally ran out of games in hand on the teams it had been chasing in the Western Conference race. With just four games remaining in the 2011 regular season, RSL faces a herculean task of making up the 10-point gap on the first-place Galaxy and second-place Seattle (54 points), but the Claret-and-Cobalt still have a five-point gap on fourth-place FC Dallas (46 pts., four games left) for the third automatic qualifying spot into the MLS Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference.
  • The uncharacteristic red card issued to Beckerman - the 6th for an RSL player in 2011 - was the first shown to the RSL captain in his 121st appearance in Claret-and-Cobalt, and just the second of his now 269-game MLS career (9/18/03 w/ COL @ NE). The 12-year veteran was also forced to sit out of RSL's 3-1 victory last Wednesday at New York due to caution accumulation.
  • The rare loss at Rio Tinto Stadium was just the fourth in the squad's last 16 games in Sandy, with three of those coming in MLS regular season play (5/28 v. SEA, 7/30 v. CLB & tonight vs. CHI) and the other in the CONCACAF Champions League Final on 4/30 v. Monterrey.




Goals by Period 1 2 F

Real Salt Lake 0 0 0

Chicago Fire 2 1 3

Scoring Summary:
CHI -- Marco Pappa 6 (Daniel Paladini 1, Patrick Nyarko 8) 9
CHI -- Marco Pappa 7 (Pavel Pardo 4) 36
CHI -- Marco Pappa 8 (unassisted) 75

Misconduct Summary:
RSL -- Kyle Beckerman (ejection; Serious Foul Play) 11
RSL -- Fabian Espindola (caution; Unsporting Behavior) 16
CHI -- Dan Gargan (caution; Unsporting Behavior) 16
RSL -- Yordany Alvarez (caution; Tactical Foul) 56


Chicago Fire -- Sean Johnson, Dan Gargan (Michael Videira 78), Josip Mikulic (Jalil Anibaba 70), Cory Gibbs, Gonzalo Segares, Marco Pappa, Daniel Paladini, Pavel Pardo, Logan Pause, Patrick Nyarko (Corben Bone 81), Dominic Oduro.
Substitutes Not Used: Orr Barouch, Diego Chaves, Baggio Husidic, Jon Conway.

Real Salt Lake -- Nick Rimando, Robbie Russell (Chris Schuler 46), Jamison Olave, Nat Borchers, Chris Wingert (Javier Morales 60), Andy Williams, Kyle Beckerman, Luis Gil (Yordany Alvarez 15), Will Johnson, Fabian Espindola, Alvaro Saborio.
Substitutes Not Used: Paulo Araujo Jr., Ned Grabavoy, Collen Warner, Tim Melia.

Referee: Baldomero Toledo
Referee's Assistants: Fabio Tovar; Ian Anderson
4th Official: Juan Guzman
Time of Game: 1:50
Weather: Clear and 80 degrees



On the play of his team in the first half:

"I'm really, really aggravated, I think is the best word. For me, a complete lack of discipline to give away a goal on a throw-in, which you have heard me harp on again and again, you've heard me say it too many times. To give away a goal that softly is a complete lack of discipline by every player that is in that area of the field, but it happened. Then Kyle (Beckerman's) ejection, a complete lack of discipline. Then every dangerous chance that was created against us was a complete lack of discipline."

On the back-to-back lopsided losses:

"Absolutely I am concerned. I'm very worried; I won't be sleeping tonight because, for me, to take two results like this in a row at this time of year could be critical. The questions now are in front of the players, how will they react."

On the play of Javier Morales in his first match back from injury:

"I was very pleased that he got out there. He seemed to make it through ok, he had some good touches and the crowd's response was fantastic. I think emotionally everyone was really, really pleased to see him get out there."

On the overall play of the team:

"When this group doesn't have its back against the wall it tends to relax, and I think that's what you get when a group relaxes. It loses focus, it loses the discipline to do all the little things it takes for our group to win."


On the back-to-back slow starts:

"I thought we actually started off quite well, and then I was very disappointed to see us give up a goal off of a throw-in; that's something we talk about everyday in training, about being squished in on those kinds of set plays. Then you go down a man and you're under it, and we made a bad decision on the second goal, then you go into halftime 2-0 down and I thought we still had a chance. Then another bad giveaway on the third goal that really cost us."

On giving up seven goals in two games:

"After conceding four goals against D.C. (United) in the first half - they were actually some pretty good goals - I think that's going to happen maybe once a season where you have a game like that. But for it to happen two games in a row it is disappointing, and I think if there is going to be a wake-up call, it's right now."

On having Javier Morales back on the field:

"It is uplifting, for sure. He's been gone for so long, so to have him back on the pitch was great. I thought he did pretty well considering the circumstances. We were down a man and there wasn't a whole lot of space for him to maneuver in and I thought he did really well."


On following up a five-game winning-streak with two straight losses:

"I think come playoff time we'll be alright. This is a team that's been through a lot of great games, a lot of tough games and a lot of ups and downs, and you would like to think if you're not going in (to the playoffs) on a 10-game winning streak that you can still pull together and get some results."

On having Javier Morales back for the stretch-run:

"He's a big part of this team and he has been for a while, he's a leader on this team and it will be fun to see him get back and get sharp. Obviously these are preseason games for him; he needs three to four weeks, which we have left, to get back to being Javi. I thought he looked great, he looked just like the old Javi, so that's probably the only positive thing you can take from tonight."


On playing 30 minutes and his match-fitness:

"I'll have to work on it. I have four more games so I'll try to get my rest and get ready for the playoffs."

On the fans' reaction when he entered the match:

"It was unbelievable, it gave me goose-bumps. It was one of the best moments of my career."

On facing tackles in his first match back:

"I said before the game, I didn't care about tackles. I was thinking about a lot, so I just have to play now. It's going to happen so I have to be ready and I have to be strong."


On winning for just the second time on the road this season:

"It was a great win against a very good team in a very difficult place. They don't drop a lot of games at home. I was very happy with the performance of the guys, not just that we won, but tactically as well."

On the performance of midfielder Marco Pappa:

"When we started, (Marco Pappa) was playing as a left-midfielder, then we switched formations and played more of a 4-2-3-1 and he was in front of Pavel (Pardo) and (Daniel) Paladini. With Dominic (Oduro) I kept telling him to think in terms of depth when we had the ball, so he was able to constantly sprint at the depth and create some gaps in between their midfield and their back line, where I thought that Marco would find the space and get the ball. He has the ability one-on-one to beat players, but his finishing was clinical tonight."

On finishing out the game out strong and holding the lead:

"The composure was great. Last week we had a 3-0 lead and we gave up some late goals because I think that everybody was pushing forward not at the right time."


On the physicality of the game:

"These are just two teams that are trying to compete. Sometimes it gets a little bit much, but luckily the referee manages it and it seems like everyone came out healthy and I think that's the important part."

On going up a man in the early stages of the game:

"It gave us a big advantage. They're a team that likes to possess the ball and when you take their pivot player out of the equation, it's going to definitely help us."


On the key to the match:

"Obviously, after the first goal it always gets easier. After that, it's always harder for the other team to play with ten men."

On Marco Pappa's performance:

"He played very good today and he scored great goals. This is a team, and when you have a good player it's good for the player to play well like Marco (Pappa), and sometimes they decide the match. Sometimes it's Marco, sometimes (Sebastian) Grazzini, sometimes Dominic (Oduro), so now I think we're playing better and better, which is good for the team."


On scoring three goals to help his team to victory:

"The most important thing is the team, always. We need the points and we got the points, so it's extra that I scored the goals and I'm happy with that. I'm going to enjoy tonight because it's not very often that you score a hat trick."

On facing the road ahead as a team:

"We're talking in the locker with our teammates that each game is a playoff for us right now. We're still alive and we need to get points, and we know the next game is going to be hard in Houston."

Well there you go perhaps more than you care to know about Wednesday's match against the Chicago Fire.