Toronto FC vs. Real Salt Lake | MLS Match Preview
TORONTO FC vs REAL SALT LAKE
BMO FIELD, Toronto, Ont.
June 29, 2013 (WEEK 18, MLS Game #153) 1 p.m. ET (TSN2; KUCW)
Two teams riding undefeated streaks will meet Saturday afternoon at BMO Field, as Toronto FC look to maintain their perfect home record vs. Real Salt Lake. TFC is unbeaten in three games, returning home off a scoreless draw at Houston last weekend. Real extended their undefeated run in league play to five games with a 2-0 home win against Seattle last weekend, then advanced to the U.S. Open Cup semifinals at midweek. TFC has never lost – or allowed a goal – to RSL in games in Toronto.
REFEREE: Chris Penso. AR1 (bench): Peter Manikowski; AR2 (opposite): Matthew Nelson; 4th: Mark Kadlecik
MLS Career: 39 games; FC/gm: 23.1; Y/gm: 2.8; R: 8; pens: 14
DISABLED LIST: none
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: TOR: Matias Laba
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: TOR: Doneil Henry, Darren O’Dea, Darel Russell … RSL: Ned Grabavoy, Lovel Palmer, Chris Wingert, Kyle Beckerman
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: RSL: Luis Gil (U.S. U-20)
ALL-TIME (11 meetings): Toronto FC 4 wins, 10 goals … Real 5 wins, 14 goals … Ties 2
AT TORONTO (5 meetings): Toronto FC 3 wins, 3 goals … Real 0 wins, 0 goals … Ties 2
LAST YEAR (MLS)
4/28: RSL 3, TOR 2 (Beckerman 7; own goal 57; Steele 93+ -- Avila 48; Henry 77)
- The teams are meeting for the only time this season in league play.
- Real Salt Lake have never won – and never scored a goal – at Toronto FC. TFC has won by a 1-0 scoreline on three occasions, including the last game at BMO Field, Aug. 13, 2011. The teams have twice played to scoreless draws there.
- Toronto FC haven’t won at Real Salt Lake since the first meeting ever between the teams, July 4, 2007, a 2-1 win at Rice-Eccles Stadium. RSL has won all four meetings at Rio Tinto Stadium, including a 3-2 win in last year’s only meeting.
- Coaches record: Ryan Nelsen vs. RSL: first game … Jason Kreis vs. TOR: P11 W5 L4 D2
Toronto FC stretched their league undefeated run to three games, reaching a scoreless draw with the Houston Dynamo on Saturday evening at BBVA Compass Stadium. TFC sit in ninth place in the Eastern Conference with 12 points from 15 matches.
- Both teams struggled to put together coherent attacks. Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall made three saves, while Toronto FC goalkeeper Joseph Bendik was called upon to make four saves.
- TFC boss Ryan Nelsen made one change to the team that came back for a 2-1 victory against D.C. United at RFK Stadium. Doneil Henry returned from suspension in place of Gale Agbossoumonde.
- TORONTO FC (4-4-2): Joseph Bendik - Ryan Richter, Doneil Henry, Steven Caldwell, Darren O'Dea - Jonathan Osorio, Matias Laba, Jeremy Hall, Bobby Convey (Darel Russell 80) - Robert Earnshaw (Danny Koevermans 77), Luis Silva (Jeremy Brockie 59).
- TFC kept a clean sheet for the first time this season in league play. Only Chivas USA still have yet to record a shutout this season in MLS.
- “I think with our performances over the course of the season we should have had four or five clean sheets by now,” Nelsen said. “I think we have been putting in pretty good defensive performances and nobody has really run over the top of us in any game. However, those performances have to result in points and we have to turn them into product. I think the guys can really grow from this result.”
- Said goalkeeper Joe Bendik: “It’s really been happening all year, it’s just at some point they got a break or we made a mistake, and we finished the game out today as we did last week.”
- The draw also extended Toronto FC’s undefeated streak to three games, the club’s longest in MLS play since the last time they won consecutive games, when they won three in a row July 11-18, 2012 vs. Vancouver, New England and Colorado.
- “A lot of it was a bit of bad luck and maybe a lack of belief from some players not having been in those types of positions much,” TFC head coach Ryan Nelsen said. “I said at the time when it was going on that in a short amount of time I wouldn’t be asked questions [about conceding late goals]. There hadn’t been stability here at the whole club. When there are long-term problems, there are no short-term solutions.”
- After missing the D.C. United match through suspension, center back Doneil Henry was quickly reinstalled into the lineup. Henry had been ever-present since his insertion into the lineup on May 8 vs. San Jose, until he was sent off against United.
- “The best part about Ryan [Nelsen] being my coach is that he played my position,” Henry said. “He gives me a lot of feedback and always tells me what I am doing right and what I am doing wrong. I have a lot of respect for him and I take his criticisms to improve my game and get better.”
- Said central defense partner Steven Caldwell: “I do think he is an outstanding talent. The improvement I have seen from him over four or five weeks has been incredible. He has all the attributes to be top class player.”
- Jeremy Brockie came off the substitutes’ bench for the final half-hour, partnering with Danny Koevermans as the strike pair for the final 13 minutes. It was Brockie’s longest shift since starting the May 25 game vs. New England.
- “Coaches just told me to go and rough a few things up, unsettle the defenders and get a couple of chances and try to hit the target. Unfortunately I couldn’t knock one in the back of the net, but the boys worked very hard for the result tonight,” said Brockie. “ … Obviously [Koevermans] is a big target up there and more often than not he’s going to win the ball or knock the ball down. So I hang off around him and I don’t mind having a long-range strike.”
REAL SALT LAKE
Real Salt Lake stretched their unbeaten run to five games with a third win in a row at home, defeating Seattle Sounders FC 2-0 on Saturday evening at Rio Tinto Stadium. RSL moved into a tie for first place in the Western Conference with 30 points from 17 games.
- Real took control of the match with goals on either side of halftime. In the 41st minute, Javier Morales sent in a bending free kick from the left that deflected off the Seattle wall and toward the far post. It fell to Kyle Beckerman, who hit a full volley that rocketed past goalkeeper Michael Gspurning and ricocheted off the bottom side of the crossbar and into the goal.
- RSL doubled their lead less than a minute after the halftime break. Álvaro Saborío’s errant rebound shot off a defender's deflection landed between Robbie Findley’s legs on the right side of goal, and he turned and put a shot inside the far post.
- RSL head coach Jason Kreis made two changes to the team that rolled to a 3-1 win against the LA Galaxy at Rio Tinto Stadium. Carlos Salcedo came into the back four for Kwame Watson-Siriboe, and Alvaro Saborio started in attack in place of Joao Plata.
- REAL SALT LAKE (4-3-1-2): Nick Rimando - Tony Beltran, Carlos Salcedo, Nat Borchers, Chris Wingert - Ned Grabavoy, Kyle Beckerman, Khari Stephenson (Sebastian Velasquez 77) - Javier Morales (Yordany Alvarez 90) - Robbie Findley (Olmes Garcia 67), Alvaro Saborio.
- Real Salt Lake extended their league winning streak to three games, their longest of the season, and their overall winning streak to five games in all competitions with the victory against Seattle.
- The win concluded a four-game homestand in league play for Real, where they took 10 of a possible 12 points, and moved into the top spot not only in the Western Conference but also the MLS overall table.
- “I’ve been fairly unconcerned with our placement in the standings. Just because we’re first now I’m not going to start concerning myself and being happy about that,” said Kreis. “I’m still looking at the individual performances, when I say individual performances I mean week in and week out, individual games and looking for places we can improve.”
- Kyle Beckerman scored his second goal of the season to send RSL on their way – and also committed two fouls, becoming the all-time MLS leader in fouls committed with 478. Beckerman, who has played 314 games in his 14-year league career, surpassed Jesse Marsch, who played in 321 games.
- "He won everything," defender Nat Borchers said. "He was on the right side winning balls; he was on the left side winning balls. He was always in the right spots and always composed on the ball. When you have a guy like that, a leader like that who brings his 'A' game, we're not going to lose games."
- After Kwame Watson-Siriboe was lost for the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, Carlos Salcedo returned to central defense for the first time after a two-match absence.
- “I thought he was solid. I knew he was going to have a big game tonight,” said center back partner Nat Borchers. “You know he just made solid decisions. He was confident on the ball. He’s getting better every time he steps on the field. I just think the more games you get, the more confident you get.”
- Robbie Findley started for a fourth consecutive match, and scored his fourth goal of the season. Over the last three games, Findley has two goals and two assists.
- Alvaro Saborío made his first start for Real since April 20, having made just one appearance totaling 28 minutes in the eight matches in between.
- “I thought he was pretty sharp on the ball. He made good decisions with his passes, nearly had an assist or two in the game. Got around pretty darn well. Worked hard for the team. I’m really, really pleased,” said Kreis. “Obviously, he’s probably not so pleased because he feels that he has to score all the time, I don’t. I think he was a major contributor to the success the team had and a major contributor to three points.”
- Said Ned Grabavoy: “It’s great to have him out there. He’s a guy who left and was banged up so obviously when he’s healthy we’d want to use him in as many games as we can. I just think if you play Sabo up there, you can play Robbie Findley. You can start [Olmes] Garcia. You can start [Joao] Plata. You can bring them off of the bench and play them underneath and give us that speed option up top. I think that works well with Sabo because he holds the ball up so well and kind of gives us a different dimension in the box as well.”
- On Wednesday, Real advanced to the semifinals of the U.S. Open Cup with a 3-0 victory against the NASL Carolina RailHawks at Rio Tinto Stadium. Tony Beltran scored before halftime, then Chris Wingert and Alvaro Saborio sealed the tie with second-half strikes. RSL will take on the Portland Timbers for a berth in the final.
- Here’s the RSL team: Josh Saunders, Chris Wingert, Carlos Salcedo, Nat Borchers, Tony Beltran, Javier Morales (Yordany Alvarez 78), Khari Stephenson (Olmes Garcia 78), Ned Grabavoy, Kyle Beckerman, Robbie Findley (Joao Plata 63), Alvaro Saborio.