Preview: Quakes visit RSL, aim to avenge opening loss

Real Salt Lake and the San Jose Earthquakes meet for the second time this season when the clubs face off Saturday evening at Rio Tinto Stadium. Real are coming off an unexpected bye week following their postponement in Vancouver, still unbeaten in their last six games. The Earthquakes have a quick turnaround after playing to a third consecutive draw, a 2-2 tie at home with the same Whitecaps FC.

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REFEREE: David Gantar. SAR (bench): Anthony Vasoli; JAR (opposite): Colin Arblaster; 4th: Tyler Ploeger. MLS Career: 6 games; FC/gm: 24.5; Y/gm: 3.5; R: 2; pens: 0

INJURY REPORT

  • REAL SALT LAKE – OUT: MF Javier Morales (L ankle fracture dislocation); FW Paulo Jr. (L hamstring strain); PROBABLE: FW Fabian Espíndola (L hamstring strain); FW Álvaro Saborío (R knee swelling)
  • SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES – OUT: MF Andre Luiz (L knee injury); DF Ike Opara (L foot injury); DOUBTFUL: DF Steven Beitashour (R leg injury); QUESTIONABLE: MF Bobby Convey (L knee contusion); FW Alan Gordon (R quadriceps strain)

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

SUSPENDED: SJ: Ramiro Corrales (caution accumulation; through July 23)

WARNINGS

  • SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: RSL: Will Johnson … SJ: Brad Ring
  • SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: RSL: Jean Alexandre, Kyle Beckerman, Robbie Russell, Chris Wingert … SJ: Sam Cronin, Alan Gordon, Jason Hernandez, Steven Lenhart

HEAD-TO-HEAD

  • ALL-TIME (12 meetings): Real 4 wins, 16 goals … Earthquakes 3 wins, 14 goals … Ties 5
  • AT SALT LAKE (5 meetings): Real 1 win, 6 goals … Earthquakes 1 win, 5 goals … Ties 4
  • Kyle Beckerman’s goal in the 64th minute gave Real Salt Lake a 1-0 win at Buck Shaw Stadium on March 19 in the season opener for both clubs.
  • The Earthquakes’ last win against RSL, May 30, 2009, is their only victory against RSL in seven meetings since the club’s return to MLS, and the first since a 1-0 win Aug. 20, 2005 at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
  • Coaches' records: Jason Kreis vs. SJ: P8 W4 L1 D3 … Frank Yallop v RSL: P13 W3 L6 D4

LAST MEETING

  • 3/19: SJ 0, RSL 1 (Beckerman 63)
  • In a driving rain and heavy wind, Kyle Beckerman scored the game’s lone goal in the 63rd minute, lashing home a drive from outside the box that hit the inside of Jon Busch’s right-hand post.
  • SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (4-4-2): Jon Busch - Chris Leitch, Brandon McDonald, Jason Hernandez, Ramiro Corrales (Simon Dawkins 66) - Joey Gjertsen (Ellis McLoughlin 71), Khari Stephenson (Anthony Ampaipitakwong 81), Sam Cronin, Bobby Convey - Ryan Johnson, Chris Wondolowski.
  • REAL SALT LAKE (4-3-1-2): Nick Rimando - Tony Beltran, Chris Schuler, Nat Borchers, Chris Wingert – Ned Grabavoy (Jean Alexandre 77), Kyle Beckerman, Will Johnson - Javier Morales - Fabian Espindola (Arturo Alvarez 65), Alvaro Saborio (Paulo Araujo Jr. 84).

REAL SALT LAKE

Real Salt Lake return to action after an unexpected weekend off, their match at Vancouver last weekend postponed. They are currently riding a six-game unbeaten streak, after a 2-0 win against FC Dallas at Rio Tinto Stadium in their last game. RSL sits in fourth place in the Western Conference, with 30 points from 17 matches.

The game against Whitecaps FC scheduled for Saturday afternoon was abandoned because of an unplayable pitch at Empire Field following heavy rain. The match has not been rescheduled.

LAST MATCH

  • Real took the lead in the 47th minute through some unfamiliar circumstances. From a free kick, Andy Williams curled a weak effort up and over the ball, but FC Dallas goalkeeper Kevin Hartman misjudged it, seeing the ball spin off his hands and trickle into the goal.
  • RSL defender Chris Wingert cleared a ball off the line late, then Fabian Espindola capped the match in added time, taking a pass from Will Johnson after an interception and cutting inside the area before slotting a low shot past a diving Hartman.
  • RSL coach Jason Kreis made three changes to the side that came back for a 3-3 draw with the New England Revolution at Rio Tinto Stadium. Chris Wingert and Chris Schuler came into the back four for Robbie Russell and the suspended Nat Borchers, and Kyle Beckerman came into midfield for Collen Warner.
  • REAL SALT LAKE (4-1-3-2): Nick Rimando - Tony Beltran, Chris Schuler, Jamison Olave, Chris Wingert – Kyle Beckerman - Ned Grabavoy (Fabian Espindola 66), Andy Williams (Collen Warner 81), Will Johnson - Luis Gil, Alvaro Saborio (Jean Alexandre 88).

TEAM NEWS

  • Real Salt Lake come into the San Jose match with their six-game undefeated streak intact, scoring eight goals in their last three games, winning two.
  • “We stated before the [FC Dallas] game that this was a huge, huge match for us,” RSL head coach Jason Kreis said. “Probably the biggest one we’ve had this season against what I think is arguably the team that’s in the best form right now. To get all three points at home was big for us.”
  • Fabian Espindola scored for the second consecutive game after coming off the bench as a substitute, his fifth goal in his last seven games.
  • Real kept a clean sheet despite having two changes in the back four, with Nat Borchers suspended and Chris Wingert returning after a three-match absence.
  • “Schuler stepped in again and played well with his confidence, and Olave stepped up again today,” Rimando said. “But I think the play of the day was Chris [Wingert] coming back and getting that ball before it went over the line.”
  • After expressing displeasure with being substituted in the league match vs. FC Dallas, Alvaro Saborio was not included in the travel party for the U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal three days later at FCD, when Real were dumped out of the competition in a 2-0 defeat.
  • “I think everybody saw what the reaction was from Álvaro as he went off the field and truthfully and honestly, that’s not the way we’ve built this franchise,” Kreis told ESPN700 Radio. “And part of our club motto is that ‘The Team is the Star,’ and the team is always the most important thing. And so we felt like this was something that we needed to address in-house. Because of that he was left home for the Dallas game.”

SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES

The San Jose Earthquakes played to a third draw in a row, ending with a 2-2 result against Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Wednesday evening at Buck Shaw Stadium. The Quakes have 24 points from 19 games on the season, sitting in sixth place in the Western Conference.

LAST MATCH

  • The Earthquakes jumped into the lead after just three minutes. Simon Dawkins sent a nifty chip over the Vancouver defense, and Chris Wondolowski latched into the ball in midflight, settled it and then fired with his left foot inside the far post.
  • Whitecaps FC evened terms three minutes before the halftime break. Shea Salinas sent the ball up the left wing and Eric Hassli sprinted past the San Jose defense, hammering a shot from the heart of the area that San Jose goalkeeper Jon Busch couldn’t keep out.
  • Wondolowski put San Jose back on top in the 54th minute when he knocked home a free header from the top of the Whitecaps’ six-yard box, meeting Jacob Peterson’s free kick from wide on the right wing.
  • But Vancouver again pulled even seven minutes later. Salinas rounded Earthquakes defender Chris Leitch on the left and laid back a pass for Hassli toward the top of the area, and he slotted home past Busch.
  • Earthquakes boss Frank Yallop made no changes to the team that played to a scoreless draw with the Columbus Crew at Crew Stadium.
  • SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (4-1-3-2): Jon Busch - Chris Leitch, Jason Hernandez, Bobby Burling, Ramiro Corrales - Brad Ring - Jacob Peterson (Bobby Convey 66), Khari Stephenson (Scott Sealy 83), Chris Wondolowski - Simon Dawkins (Rafael Baca 42), Steven Lenhart.

TEAM NEWS

  • The Quakes’ opening goal of the evening from Wondolowski snapped a 294-minute goalless drought, their first goal since July 2.
  • But while the Earthquakes had posted back-to-back shutouts, they have allowed two goals in three of the last five games.
  • “All of a sudden we can’t score, so we’re terrible up front. Or we concede goals, so we’re terrible in back,” Yallop said. “It’s a team effort. We’ve got to get a combination where we can make sure we are solid in the back and dangerous going forward. Right now we seem to be struggling to get that chemistry that is going to be good for us going forward, but I don’t fault the guys for effort.”
  • The Quakes have five draws and a loss in their last six games. Three of the draws have been scoreless affairs; in the other two, they have allowed the tying goal in the final half-hour after holding the lead. In their loss in that stretch (July 6 at Chivas), both goals came in the final half hour.
  • “For some reason, we can’t see games out,” Yallop said. “We let the other team come into it with play. They deserved to score first half, I thought. They had come back in the game. They were dangerous.” Said Wondolowski: “We didn’t play scared, but we played tentative, I would say, once we’d go up. That’s not us, and we’ve got to fix that.”
  • For Wondolowski, they were his first goals since May 28. He had gone without a goal in his last four appearances; he missed the four games before that while on international duty.
  • “I thought we played well at times, but didn’t put together a complete 90 minutes to that win. So I think that we are building and going in the right direction, but we still need to make it better all the way around,” Wondolowski said.
  • For a second consecutive match, Jacob Peterson, acquired in the trade from Toronto FC, held down a starting place and contributed an assist, setting up Wondolowski’s second. The other two players obtained in the deal – Alan Gordon and Nana Attakora – did not figure.
  • “It was just a free kick in the corner really. I was trying to put it in a good area. We have some big strong guys on the team – Wondo attacked it well,” said Peterson.