Preview: Real Salt Lake return home, host inconsistent DC
RIO TINTO STADIUM, Sandy, Utah
7 p.m. MT (CSN-MA)
June 18, 2011 (WEEK 14; MLS Game 136)
Real Salt Lake return home following a two-game Eastern swing to take on D.C. United, Saturday night at Rio Tinto Stadium. United haven't won in five seasons in Utah, since winning there in Real's inaugural season. RSL took one point on their travels after a 1-1 draw in Philadelphia last time out. United saw a five-game unbeaten run come to an end in a 4-2 home loss to the San Jose Earthquakes.
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REFEREE: Terry Vaughn. SAR (bench): Kermit Quisenberry; JAR (opposite): Jeff Hosking; 4th: Elias Bazakos
MLS Career: 146 games; FC/gm: 28.5; Y/gm: 3.8; R: 47; pens: 47
INJURY REPORT: REAL SALT LAKE — OUT: MF Javier Morales (L ankle fracture dislocation); FW Paulo Jr. (R hip flexor strain); PROBABLE: MF Jean Alexandre (L hamstring spasms) ... D.C. UNITED — OUT: MF Branko Boskovic (L knee ACL tear); DF Marc Burch (R hamstring strain); DF Dejan Jakovic (L hamstring strain); DF Devon McTavish (concussion); MF Santino Quaranta (concussion); QUESTIONABLE: MF Kurt Morsink (R ankle sprain); PROBABLE: MF Junior Carreiro (L ankle sprain); DF Jed Zayner (L hamstring strain)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: RSL: Alvaro Saborio (Costa Rica); Arturo Alvarez (El Salvador)
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: none
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: RSL: Chris Wingert ... DC: Fred
ALL-TIME (12 meetings): Real 5 wins, 18 goals ... United 4 wins, 18 goals ... Ties 3
AT SALT LAKE (6 meetings): Real 5 wins, 14 goals ... United 1 win, 6 goals ... Ties 0
RETURN MATCH: 9/24: D.C. United vs. Real Salt Lake, 7:30 p.m. ET
LAST YEAR (MLS):
6/5: DC 0, RSL 0
7/31: RSL 3, DC 0 (Saborio 13; Findley 79; Gonzalez 90)
• Since a 3-1 win against RSL in their first trip to Utah, United have lost on their last five trips to the Wasatch Front since 2006, outscored 13-3.
• By contrast, Real have never won at RFK Stadium, with four losses in seven trips in all competitions all-time. But the last two meetings on East Capitol Street have ended in scoreless draws.
• Coaches record: Jason Kreis v DC: P8 W4 L2 D2 ... Ben Olsen vs. RSL: first game
REAL SALT LAKE
Real Salt Lake salvaged a point from their two-game Eastern road trip, coming back for a 1-1 draw with Philadelphia Union on Saturday afternoon at PPL Park. RSL sits in fifth place in the Western Conference, with 21 points from 12 matches.
• Union took the lead in the 24th minute when Michael Farfan ran down a pass from defender Sheanon Williams in the right corner and chipped it to the center of the penalty area, where Keon Daniel's header found the back of the net.
• But the visitors pulled level in the 53rd minute, RSL forward Jean Alexandre won the ball from Farfan in the center of the pitch and fed the ball ahead to a streaking Esp"ndola, who cut the ball back on defender Carlos ValdÈs in the area and fired a low shot past Union goalkeeper Faryd MondragÛn.
• RSL coach Jason Kreis made four changes to the side that fell 2-1 to the Columbus Crew at Crew Stadium. Robbie Russell and Nat Borchers came into the midfield for Tony Beltran and Chris Schuler, and Luis Gil and Andy Williams came into the midfield for Nelson Gonzalez and Collen Warner.
• REAL SALT LAKE (4-3-1-2): Nick Rimando - Robbie Russell (Tony Beltran 57), Jamison Olave, Nat Borchers, Chris Wingert - Luis Gil (Collen Warner 83), Kyle Beckerman, Ned Grabavoy - Andy Williams - Jean Alexandre (Artur Aghasyan 71), Fabian Espindola.
• Off the two-game road trip where Real took one of a possible six points, they now have four of their next five games at Rio Tinto Stadium.
• "Going into this set (of road games) my goal for us was to get two points or more," said RSL coach Jason Kreis. "We did fall a bit short (losing 2-1 to Columbus Wednesday), but sometimes it's more important how you play. This really gives us something to build on."
• After opening their league campaign with four consecutive victories — then the CONCACAF Champions League final against Mexico's Monterrey — Real have won just twice in their last eight games, with three losses.
• "We're struggling right now," RSL midfielder Kyle Beckerman said. "We're so thin pretty much everywhere with the Gold Cup and injuries. [The Union have] been playing really well at home. We're playing with a lot of new guys, so we just had to battle. But it was a tale of two halves. We felt like we were the home team in the second half."
• After going two games without seeing the field, Fabian Espindola has made four straight starts for Real and scored two goals in that time, including the equalizer in the 1-1 draw at Philadelphia.
• "Fabian, right now, has been our difference-maker in the last few games," said Kreis. "He's been the guy who's been getting into spaces. He's been an important, important player for us in the last three games. He has scored two goals, and he's probably been working as hard, if not harder, than any player on the field."
• 17-year-old Luis Gil was given his first MLS start, his sixth career appearance in league play.
• "He's a player who has really developed over the past year and a half. We've taken a very patient stance with him, not trying to rush him, not trying to listen to other people's expectations of him, but just develop him as a player for him to be able to contribute," Kreis said. "He earned his opportunity tonight and we are also a little thin so we are going to have to rely on young guys like Luis Gil, Nelson Gonzalez, Collen Warner, to step forward, and I thought he did a pretty solid job."
D.C. United saw their unbeaten run come to an end after five games, falling 4-2 to the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday evening at RFK Stadium. United have 16 points from 13 games on the year, sitting in fifth place in the Eastern Conference.
• United struck first in the 13th minute. Josh Wolff sent in a low, curling ball from the left side that eluded four Earthquakes defenders before Andy Najar slid it home at the back post.
• But San Jose pulled level two minutes later. Steven Lenhart beat the offside trap to meet a Khari Stephenson through ball before rounding D.C. goalkeeeper Bill Hamid for a finish into an unguarded goal. The visitors then pulled level in the 22nd minute when Hamid couldn't hold a Stephenson shot from just outside the box and Lenhart pounced on the rebound to finish.
• Yet United leveled terms in the 34th minute. Blake Brettschneider collected a pass at the edge of the area, turned past Quakes defender Bobby Burling and fired low and hard inside goalkeeper Jon Busch's left post.
• Shortly after the break, San Jose re-took the lead. Simon Dawkins played a one-two with Steven Lenhart in the area, slotting home the return pass from behind D.C.'s back line.
• The Quakes finished off the match in the 60th minute. Steven Beitashour looped a cross back into the box from the left, and as Hamid came well off his line to challenge, Lenhart got there first to loop a header into the empty net for his hat trick.
• United coach Ben Olsen made no changes to the team that played to a scoreless draw with the LA Galaxy at The Home Depot Center.
• D.C. UNITED (4-1-3-2): Bill Hamid - Chris Korb (Brandon Barklage 68), Ethan White, Perry Kitchen, Daniel Woolard (Dax McCarty 78) - Clyde Simms - Andy Najar, Fred, Chris Pontius - Blake Brettschneider (Charlie Davies 62), Josh Wolff.
• D.C. United allowed four goals for a fourth time this season in the home loss to San Jose — by far the most in MLS this season. United have allowed 24 goals this season, one fewer than Toronto FC.
• "San Jose came in here and did exactly what we did in LA and Portland. They got the message and we didn't; that is unacceptable," United head coach Ben Olsen said. "Giving up four goals again is not good. So we are going to look at some film and fix it next week."
• Since an opening night win against Columbus, United have won just once in their last six games at RFK Stadium, a defeat of Seattle on May 4. They are winless in their last three on East Capitol Street.
• "We think we are a little bit better than we are, so maybe it's a good thing that we got punched in the face," Olsen said. "Maybe we will get the message that even at home you don't get games handed to you.
• United have allowed 13 goals after the break in 13 games, second-most in the league (behind Sporting KC).
• "We looked like young kids tonight," Olsen said. "This is going to happen. We've always said it, that we're going to have games like this, where young kids make mistakes. That I can live with. The commitment and the energy that we didn't show at times in that game was unacceptable."
• After recording a pair of assists in the 3-2 win against Portland two weeks earlier, rookie Blake Brettschneider scored his first MLS goal against San Jose. Brettschneider had burst onto the scene with a goal in the friendly against Ajax.
• "Blake scored a great goal. He was pretty sharp on the ball and had a good night," said Olsen.
• Fred was given a start in central midfield for a second consecutive game, after coming off the bench in four straight appearances. He played the full 90 minutes for the first time since April 21.
• "Fred has been a great pro. It wasn't easy for him coming here and playing limited minutes. He gives us a little bit more creativity, but again, I don't think a lot of the players got what the game needed," Olsen said. "But it's not all about us; they came in with a pretty good game plan and did their job."