Preview: RSL return home, face hungry Toronto FC
Real Salt Lake return home following a quick midweek trip to take on Toronto FC on Saturday evening at Rio Tinto Stadium. RSL played to a third consecutive draw on Wednesday, a scoreless tie at the Chicago Fire. Toronto FC are now winless in eight games, coming off a late 1-0 loss to Seattle Sounders FC at home last weekend.
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REFEREE: Niko Bratsis. SAR (bench): Craig Lowry; JAR (opposite): Peter Manikowski; 4th: Ricardo Salazar
MLS Career: 3 games; FC/gm: 25.0; Y/gm: 3.0; R: 0; pens: 0
INJURY REPORT: REAL SALT LAKE – OUT: MF Javier Morales (L ankle fracture dislocation); DOUBTFUL: FW Arturo Alvarez (R hamstring strain), FW Fabian Espíndola (L hamstring strain), DF Chris Wingert (R hamstring strain); QUESTIONABLE: FW Paulo Jr. (L hamstring strain), FW Álvaro Saborío (R knee swelling); PROBABLE: DF Robbie Russell (R shoulder impingement) …
TORONTO FC – OUT: MF Elbekay Bouchiba (R knee surgery recovery); DF Adrian Cann (R knee sprain); DF Dicoy Williams (R knee sprain); DF Nana Attakora (R quadriceps strain); MF Jacob Peterson (L hamstring strain); FW Alan Gordon (abdominal strain); QUESTIONABLE: MF Julian DeGuzman (L calf strain); MF Tony Tchani (L ankle contusion); MF Nathan Sturgis (L hamstring tightness)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: none
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: RSL: Will Johnson, Robbie Russell, Chris Wingert … TOR: Danleigh Borman, Richard Eckersley, Dan Gargan, Javier Martina, Tony Tchani, Mikael Yourassowsky
ALL-TIME (8 meetings): Real 3 wins, 8 goals … Toronto FC 3 wins, 6 goals … Ties 2
AT SALT LAKE (4 meetings): Real 3 wins, 8 goals … Toronto FC 1 win, 4 goals … Ties 0
RETURN MATCH: 8/13: Toronto FC vs. Real Salt Lake, 7 p.m. ET
5/1: RSL 2, TOR 1 (Olave 14; Williams 42 – De Rosario 88)
8/28: TOR 0. RSL 0
• Real have yet to win at BMO Field. Toronto FC have won twice on their home ground in the series; the teams have also played to two scoreless draws in Ontario.
• After Toronto FC won in the first meeting ever between the clubs, at Rice-Eccles Stadium, RSL has won their last three home games.
• Coaches record: Jason Kreis v TOR: P8 W3 L3 D2 … Aron Winter vs. RSL: first game
REAL SALT LAKE
Real Salt Lake had their winless run extended to four games, playing to a scoreless draw with the Chicago Fire on Wednesday evening at Toyota Park. . RSL sits in fourth place in the Western Conference, with 23 points from 14 matches.
• RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando made four saves on the evening, most of the tougher chances coming after the halftime break.
• Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson was called upon to make two saves.
• RSL coach Jason Kreis made three changes to the side that ended in a 1-1 draw with D.C. United at Rio Tinto Stadium. Robbie Russell came in for Chris Wingert in the back, Will Johnson started in midfield for Andy Williams, and Artur Aghasyan replaced the suspended Jean Alexandre up top.
• REAL SALT LAKE (4-3-1-2): Nick Rimando - Robbie Russell, Jamison Olave, Nat Borchers, Tony Beltran - Ned Grabavoy, Kyle Beckerman, Will Johnson - Collen Warner (Nelson Gonzalez 84) - Artur Aghasyan (Andy Williams 69), Fabian Espindola (Luis Gil 7).
• With Jean Alexandre suspended, rookie striker Artur Aghasyan was given his first MLS start. He had made three substitute appearances prior to the Chicago match. Alexandre and Fabian Espindola had made five consecutive games as the strike partnership.
• "That's three games without a loss, and when we have no forwards, I think that's OK," RSL coach Jason Kreis said. "It kind of dumbfounds me at the moment because that's our fourth, fifth forward now that's been ruled unavailable through one circumstance or another.
• Then, just seven minutes into the match, Espindola went down with a left hamstring injury, and was replaced by 17-year-old Luis Gil. He was making just his seventh appearance of the league campaign; his first career MLS start came June 11 vs. Philadelphia.
• "It's uncanny. I don't remember ever a time being in such dire straits. Tonight for 80 or 70 minutes of the game we have an apprentice player and a 17-year-old as our two forwards out there, Kreis said. “And credit to them, I thought they did a pretty admirable job. At least they fought.”
• The shutout was just the second in the last six games for Real, after recording six clean sheets in their first eight league games. RSL has allowed just eight goals on the league season – two coming on penalty kicks.
• "Our main concern was to get a shutout, and we were able to do that," Beckerman said. "(Espindola's injury) was tough to take but it was almost like it was so early that we were kind of just starting the game with a new player. I thought Luis did well. We tried not to miss a beat but Fabi's been such a huge player for us that it was a bit of an adjustment. You just get on with it.
• For a fifth time in eight games since Javier Morales went down with an injury, Collen Warner slotted into the attacking midfield spot.
• “Another night where I think Collen did quite a few good things. Is he having a 100 percent game for us right now? No, but he’s a very young player and he’s being asked to play a very difficult position,” Kreis said. “He had a good night for himself. He put himself in two spots, but on a different night he scores because he’s really pretty good in front of the goal. I think we’re moving forward with that.”
• Since Morales was injured May 7 vs. Chivas USA, Real have scored just six goals in eight matches, shut out on three occasions.
• “Guys are having to play different positions but we just have to get on with it. There’s a bunch of games [coming up] and you can’t really complain because nobody really cares,” Kyle Beckerman said. “There’s another game on the schedule and you have to play it. If we play with a couple midfielders up top, so be it. We have to be able and try to score some goals.”
Toronto FC were seconds away from a fourth consecutive draw before Seattle Sounders FC hit for a late winner in a 1-0 win Saturday at BMO Field. TFC has 15 points from 17 games on the season, sitting in a three-way tie for sixth place in the Eastern Conference.
• Sounders FC went down a man in the 49th minute when Jhon Kennedy Hurtado received his second yellow card of the match for a foul on Alen Stevanovic.
• But in the 90th minute, Seattle won a free kick just outside the area on the right, and Fredy Montero lashed it over the wall and inside Stefan Frei's left post for the match-winner.
• TFC head coach Aron Winter made one change to the team that played to a scoreless draw with the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium. Alen Stevanovic came back into the team in place of Alan Gordon.
• TORONTO FC--Stefan Frei - Richard Eckersley, Ty Harden, Doneil Henry, Danleigh Borman - Nathan Sturgis (Oscar Cordon 46) - Alen Stevanovic (Javier Martina 71), Mikael Yourassowsky (Dan Gargan 91+) - Nick Soolsma, Maicon Santos, Joao Plata.
• Toronto FC have gone eight league games without a victory, since a 2-1 win against Houston on May 7. They have three draws in that time.
• “We deserved to win,” TFC head coach Aron Winter said. “We we had more opportunities than Seattle. Also when they were playing with 11, we were the better team and we were giving nothing away. I’m a little bit upset, and I can’t believe that we lost the game.”
• TFC has recorded three shutouts in the previous five games, and nearly made it four out of six.
• “It’s a tough result because we deserved the win. Not just a tie, but we deserved to win,” Frei said. “It’s going to be tough to bounce back from this. Today would have been a perfect opportunity to maybe get something going offensively.”
• The club will face more questions in building an attack after midfielder Alen Stevanovic was recalled by Torino F.C. of Italy’s Serie B.
• “We are disappointed to see Alen leave our club. He is a good young midfielder and did some good things for us,” said Winter. “We knew a recall was always possible and now the time has come to thank Alen and wish him well.”
• Winter said there could be a positive to Stevanovic’s recall, once the international transfer window opens in mid-June.
• “I’m still saying we are rebuilding,” Winter said. “It’s clear that once the (transfer) window opens, we will have to get some players because we need them. We don’t have enough quality. I need some players who can make goals, and on each line [be] a leader and then everything is going to be different.”
• Alan Gordon re-aggravated a groin injury and was unavailable after back-to-back appearances, including a two-goal night against the LA Galaxy.