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Real Salt Lake 2 - Vancouver Whitecaps 1- Recap and post match quotes

So anybody who reads my blog knows that I had to miss this home RSL match as I headed to Baltimore to catch Liverpool vs. Tottenham, but I was able to catch the match live via the internet and MLS Live (how did we survive as soccer fans before these things?). It was a fun and exciting match with a lot of end to end action and thanks to the great work of the RSL Communications team, I can bring you their official match recap as well as some post match quotes.


Costa Rican International Finishes July with 6 Goals in 5 Games

SANDY, Utah (Friday, July 27, 2012) - Real Salt Lake (13-7-3, 39 points, West #2) got a pair of goals from FW Álvaro Saborío to beat Vancouver Whitecaps FC (9-7-7, 34 points, West #3) 2-1 in front of a crowd of 18,702 at Rio Tinto Stadium on Friday night. Saborío twice gave RSL the lead, opening the scoring in the 33rd minute and cancelling out Vancouver FW Darren Mattocks' second half equalizer with a 58th minute strike.

RSL controlled most of the match's early stages, holding the majority of possession and creating a few half chances through the run of play. Vancouver wasn't able to generate much in opening minutes, only creating on the counterattack or through set pieces.

The Claret-and-Cobalt took the lead in the 34th minute, when Saborío buried a penalty kick into the bottom-left corner. RSL captain Kyle Beckerman drew the PK, challenging Jay DeMerit for a header in the box and forcing a hand ball from the Vancouver captain. Saborío easily converted, moving to 11-for-11 from the spot in his RSL career.

more after the jump:

Vancouver's best chance of the first half came four minutes after Saborío's goal. Mattocks ran onto a long ball deep in RSL's half, dribbling to the top of the 18 before dragging a relatively open shot wide of the far post.

RSL started the second half poorly and Vancouver quickly took advantage, tying the game through Mattocks in the 52nd minute. Vancouver MF Camilo set the play up, chipping a gorgeous ball over the RSL defense and into the right side of the box. Mattocks did the rest, running onto Camilo's pass and slotting home past RSL GK Nick Rimando.

Vancouver continued attacking after the equalizer, nearly taking the lead just a minute after tying the game up. Mattocks was at the heart of the play again, playing a back pass to the top of the box to MF Jun Marques Davidson, who hit a driven first time shot off of the left post.

The ‘Caps weren't done attacking, coming close again in the 57th when Mattocks headed a corner kick just wide of the right post from close range.

RSL regained its footing - and the lead - in the 58th minute, getting a second goal from Saborío to go up 2-1. Substitute MFNed Grabavoy started the play, finding MF Javier Morales open on the left wing. The Argentine playmaker quickly lofted in a curling cross and Saborío did the rest, majestically climbing over Vancouver DF Martin Bonjour to head home just inside the left post.

Vancouver would've equalized for a second time had Rimando not come up big in the 71st minute. The veteran keeper absolutely stoned Camilo, beautifully blocking the Brazilian's hard 12-yarder.

Already down a goal, Whitecaps FC went down a man when GK Joe Cannon was shown a straight red card in the 76th minute. DeMerit played a poor back pass to Cannon and RSL FW Fabian Espíndola made the ‘Caps pay, beating Cannon to the ball outside the box and putting a touch around the veteran goalie. Espíndola would have been in alone on goal, but Cannon handled the ball several yards outside the 18, giving referee Kevin Stott no choice but to show him a straight red.

Despite playing with only 10 men, Vancouver had another near miss in the 82nd minute, when substitute FW Kenny Miller acrobatically headed FW Dane Richards' cross just wide of the left post.

RSL saw the rest of the match out with little incident. The team has a quick turnaround ahead of its next game, opening its CONCACAF Champions League schedule with a Group 2 match at Costa Rican champion C.S. Herediano on Tuesday, July 31. RSL will travel to Costa Rica on Sunday, flying into the capital city of San Jose on a chartered flight. The team will return to Utah on Wednesday and resume training later in the week ahead of its Aug. 4 league match at the Colorado Rapids.

Real Salt Lake Match Notes - RSL 2-VAN 1

  • Saborío's two goals give him six in five games during the month of July. The Costa Rican international now has 13 goals on the season, one more than his previous RSL best and just three shy of the team record of 16 set by Jeff Cunningham in 2006.
  • RSL is now 10-1-0 in 2012 when scoring the first goal.
  • The team now has an all-time mark of 27-4-5 when Saborío scores.
  • RSL's 42 points is the second-best mark through 23 games in team history, trailing the 2010 squad by just one point.
  • Real Salt Lake began the match with three regular starters - Olave, Grabavoy and DF Chris Wingert - on the bench. Olave didn't even make the 18, with head coach Jason Kreis choosing to rest the banged-up center back ahead of Tuesday's CCL match. Both Wingert and Grabavoy came into the match as second half subs.
  • MF Luis Gil and DF's Kwame Watson-Siriboe and Kenny Mansally filled in for Grabavoy, Olave and Wingert, respectively. Watson-Siriboe was the only one to play the entire 90 minutes, as both Gil and Mansally were subbed out in the second half.
  • Friday's win is the first time this year that RSL has won without Olave in the starting lineup. DF Tony Beltran is now the only Real Salt Lake player to have featured in all 13 of the team's wins.
  • Captain Kyle Beckerman returned to action on Friday, six days after missing RSL's 2-0 win over Colorado due to a red card suspension. It wasn't certain that Beckerman would feature in Friday's game after playing 34 minutes in the MLS All-Stars' 3-2 win over Chelsea FC in Chester, Pa. on Wednesday night.
  • RSL is now just one point behind San Jose for the Western Conference and MLS lead. The Earthquakes - which have a game in hand on RSL - host Chicago on Saturday night

(personal note - while it wasn't mentioned in the official stuff, RSL didn't pick up any yellow cards so no players will be suspended for next weekends match at the Colorado Rapids. I don't know if Alvaro Saborio got one yellow knocked off his record or not, but since Jamison Olave didn't play we know he is still in yellow card peril.)

So here are the post match quotes from both locker rooms:

On Alvaro Saborío's performance...

"Another really strong performance for me. I actually want to say as well that we shouldn't talk about Sabo without talking about Fabian because that amount of work that he is putting in right now if making Sabo's a little bit life easier. Both of those guys are working extremely hard and I'm pleased to see Sabo scoring goals because for a long time he was doing everything and just getting very unfortunate so it's good that he is in a good run and we will try and ride it as long as possible."

On Javier's beautiful service and Saborío's effort...

"Yeah, it was for sure. Javier's been patient with it and gone a little bit right and gone a little bit left and then I think served in a really terrific ball but the effort by Sabo was spectacular. I mean to get up that high and hammer it home and down was simply splendid."

On penalty kick as a just reward for work put in...

"I really felt like we had the energy and we had the chances there. We were really on top of them and often times as a coach you see those moments, those five or 10 minute periods go by wanting, and that can be a really painful thing because you know that can come back to haunt you. I'm really pleased to see us score that goal at that moment and I do think it was just reward for all that the guys were putting in during that five or 10 minute patch."

On how soccer should be played...

"Well, it's not really for me to say what I would like other teams to do. That's not my job. I just control mine. I think that Vancouver, as I have said the whole week, is a very good team. They play very attractive soccer in my opinion. I think that tonight was lacking a little bit of energy on both sides. I mean, it was really really hot out there tonight. I thought the first half, even though we did create some chances, it was a little bit stagnant. I think both teams were struggling to find the energy to make things happen and I thought it livened up a little bit in the second half."

On Nick Rimando's performance...

"He made the big stop. He made the absolute critical stop that we needed him to make there in the second half. I think Camillo got through from the left side and Nick was there to keep us in it. Do I think it was a perfect performance from him or anybody out there? No, not at all but we're still finding our way a little bit to try and improve to try and get to a point where we play a complete match and tonight for five or 10 minutes it included that stop from Rimando and a ball off the post and when they scored it got really bad. So, we need to still remember we need to improve and get to a place where we can play a complete 90 minute match."

On shifting to CONCACAF...

"I'm ready. I'm ready right now to go home and scout Herediano and do everything we can so that we are very properly prepared. Our players are right now automatically starting their regen process and preparing their bodies for Tuesday. This is a big big deal to our club, a big big deal to our fans and a huge deal to everybody in the locker room."

On how quick turnaround could impact team...

"It could. It's just going to be really important what they do starting right now. What they are putting in their body. Are they taking their ice baths? Are they getting all of their treatments they need to? Are they going to get some rest tonight and rest tomorrow? Our ownership has stepped up and gotten us a chartered flight, which is just huge in my opinion. Everybody should be nice and comfortable for the long flight to Costa Rica and get some more rest to put in a light training session on Monday and be fully fit and ready and focused for Tuesday."


On the team's response after Vancouver's goal...

"We kept on fighting. We're going to do that at home no matter what, and it was a great ball from Javi and again, Sabo was strong up top and fought off his defender and rose up and headed home a great ball. The response was great; it was what I expect from this group, especially this far into the season."

On Mansally and Watson-Siriboe...

"They were good, really good. Kenny is a young player and is very great in the air, and Kwame is as well. He's very fast, has good positioning, and talks a lot so I feel comfortable with them in front of me, especially when I have Nat back there it makes it all easier because he has good positioning and he communicates very well with those two, so it makes their job easy."

On how the team turned things around the past month...

"Just focus on ourselves. I think we were making some mental errors and not playing really as a team. I think we took a look in the mirror, everybody took a look in the mirror, and we know what we bring to the team and we just need to continue to do that. Those last couple games where we had a rough spell, I don't think we were so worried about the losses; it was about how we lost them. I think we turned the page and left that behind us and now we're just looking forward and knowing what we're capable of and going out there and winning against some of these teams that we're losing against."


On getting out of a rough patch earlier this month...

"I think we took a pretty good butt-whippin' at San Jose, and I think that really focused our attention on defending. You know, that's our bread and butter on this team, when we stick to that, when we stay together as a unit defensively, we get results."

On the performance Mansally and Watson-Siriboe...

"I thought they did a great job. Both are very athletic, very fast, and read the game quite well. I think Dane Richards got behind us one time on Kenny's side, but otherwise, he was really solid. Kwame was the same way-just very composed on the ball, you know a great pro, so it's really good to see that kind of depth right now.

On the team's feelings going into their CONCACAF match...

"Obviously pretty good. We're coming off a couple good results here. I think we all know it's tough though; it's not going to be an easy place to play. The atmosphere is going to be very negative toward us. But it's going to be fun, a great challenge. We're ready to get back into CONCACAF."


Overall thoughts on the game...

"These days of summer are tough, so for that game to become three points for us instead of one was big for us."

"Yeah, it was a tough game for us. It was hot and they're a good team. They have a lot of confidence that they're playing with and they have some players that are dangerous."

On Vancouver...

"We knew they would give us a fight. It was going to go one of two ways, we were either going to pounce on them and get the second goal, and then it would probably be over, or they get a goal and now we're in a dogfight."


On Nat Borchers...

"He's a very good player and somebody who continues to help me along. This is still only my fifth game, so it's still new to me, but Nat continues to help me push forward and is always a positive person. It's great having him there because he's always talking and he's a rock that keeps us going."

On his fifth appearance for RSL...

"It's been good. The coaching staff had a lot of confidence in me coming in and it's given me the ability to continue to push forward even when I make mistakes. Every week you make mistakes, but it's something where you have to learn from your own mistakes because you have to press forward. The coaching staff has continued to give me confidence and Nat too, that if I make a mistake they won't take me out is something that will continue to help me progress and advance my talent."

On the overall attitude of the team...

Very positive. Tonight I made a mistake, and it's something that almost cost us the game. On other teams you might have someone scream at you, but here it's a very positive environment."


On overall thoughts on the game...

"I feel like it was good we kept pressuring them. We didn't give them so much space on the ball. I felt like doing that made them give the ball away and obviously when we have the ball we know how to control it and take our time with it."

On Saborio's goal...

"I felt like it was a good play, a good cross and a great goal."

On confidence going into CONCACAF play...
"This game gets us motivated for it. I feel like we're ready for it and it's getting us back in a rhythm of winning and playing our style and I feel like it's just going to keep our momentum going."


On overall thoughts of the match...
"When I came out Sabo scored his goal, and goals change games. I think from that point on we settled down a lot more, but they were just throwing everything forward, throwing numbers forward, so I found myself for up to 10 or 15 minutes pretty much playing like a right back. It's difficult to deal with that sometimes when teams do that."

On how good Saborío is in the air...
"Real good. That's a play Javier probably doesn't play that ball to anyone else, because he's completely marked by another really big guy, but it's kind of like a goal out of nowhere to be honest with you. He plays a great ball in, but for him to elevate like that, and snap the ball into the goal, we have seen him do it four or five times. We are going to need it Tuesday in CONCACAF as well."


On overall thoughts of the match...

"It's very good for us because we need to win this game because we are at home and we need to prove that we are the better team here."

On his two goals...
"I feel great because it was 2-1 and after that we have to keep possession and win."


On overall thoughts on the match...

"We didn't take good chances, because if we had taken those chances we would have gotten ourselves a better result tonight, so that's disappointing. I'm very pleased with how the players applied themselves, the effort they put in was good, their possession obtained was good, and we created enough to win the game, but unfortunately we didn't take those chances and that cost us."

On thoughts on Captain Jay DeMerit's performance...

"I thought given the circumstances he did well. He was very harshly penalized on the penalty kick after he was off balanced and was nudged, following an incident where it was actually a throw in for us that wasn't given, so that was a very disappointing moment, as was the second goal. Those things, when they go against need to take your chances and we didn't."

On moving on from the loss...

"I thought we played well before the first goal. That was a big decision for a penalty kick, and the only difference between the teams, and overall, the difference in the game. I think those were two very good teams playing a good game. As frustrated as we are tonight, we'll talk a lot of confidence from it and build for the next game at home against Salt Lake."


On the overall thoughts of the game...

"It was a very good game from end to end. There were about 15 minutes in the game when we had three or four chances and we should have taken advantage of those, but we didn't and everyone pays for that."

On another game with a goal...

"Yeah, it is something that I just keep working on from game to game and that's what I have been told to do. I really have to give most of the credit to my team, the forward line, the midfield line, the defensive line and our goalkeeper has been doing a fantastic job and they expect me to put the ball in the back of the net."

On the goal he scored against Nick Rimando...

"I knew I was going to get to the ball first and I had my eyes open, I'm quick enough to get to that ball and as a striker I knew where to go."


On his overall thoughts on the game...

"A little bit disappointed with the result; we had enough chances to tie and possibly win but sometimes things don't bounce your way upfront and in the back we just made a couple individual errors. I'm disappointed but there was good overall play tonight from our side."

On the penalty in the first half...

"Well, obviously I don't go up with my hands up so I got hip-checked a little bit and my hand did come up and did hit the ball of course. But I thought he could have called it stepping into me as well. Obviously there was no call, so there is not much else you can do about that."

Well there you go a very long blog post with a whole lot of information in it. I hope you enjoyed the match Friday as much as I did, and now on to the rest of the weekend.