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Preview: RSL look to cement top spot in West vs. Impact

REAL SALT LAKE vs MONTREAL IMPACT
RIO TINTO STADIUM, Sandy, Utah

April 4, 2012 (WEEK 5, MLS Game #36)
9 p.m. ET (KUCW-30; TVA; MLS Live)

Real Salt Lake return to Rio Tinto Stadium where they will meet the expansion Montreal Impact for the first time ever in a midweek clash. Real are coming off a thrilling late victory at the Portland Timbers last weekend, their only road encounter in a five-game span. The Impact are concluding a three-game road swing still looking for their first points away from Quebec after a 5-2 loss at New York last Saturday.

REFEREE: Ricardo Salazar. SAR (bench): Peter Manikowski; JAR (opposite): Jeff Muschik; 4th: Allen Chapman

MLS Career: 147 games; FC/gm: 27.0; Y/gm: 3.5; R: 42; pens: 54

COMPLETE GAME GUIDE (PDF)

INJURY REPORT: REAL SALT LAKE — OUT: FW Cody Arnoux (R adductor strain); QUESTIONABLE: MF Will Johnson (R adductor strain); PROBABLE: DF Nat Borchers (L quadriceps strain) … MONTREAL IMPACT — OUT: DF Nelson Rivas (L hamstring strain); FW Eduardo Sebrango (L groin strain); DF Hassoun Camara (R quad strain); PROBABLE: FW Justin Braun (L groin strain)

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

SUSPENDED: none

HEAD-TO-HEAD

ALL-TIME: First meeting.

  • This is the only league meeting between the teams this season.
  • Coaches record: Jason Kreis vs. MTL: first game … Jesse Marsch vs. NY: first game

REAL SALT LAKE

HIGHLIGHTS: Portland 2, RSL 3

Real Salt Lake rebounded from their first loss of 2012 in dramatic fashion, scoring the tying and winning goals after the 89th minute for a 3-2 win Saturday against the Portland Timbers at Jeld-Wen Field. Real are in a three-way tie atop the Western Conference with 9 points from 4 games.

LAST MATCH

  • RSL took the lead late in the first half. Portland’s Rodney Wallace was whistled for a handball in the area by referee Jorge Gonzalez made the call, and Alvaro Saborio beat goalkeeper Troy Perkins with the resulting penalty.
  • Nagbe then pulled Portland level three minutes after the halftime break. Just inside the area, he received a perfectly placed pass from Eric Alexander, sidestepped RSL's Kyle Beckerman and looped a low shot past RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando.
  • Then in the 66th minute, Alexander found Nagbe again, this time at the top of the area on the left side. The second-year player juggled once and volleyed a dipping strike between two defenders and past the outstretched hands of goalkeeper Nick Rimando, under the crossbar.
  • But Real silenced the sell-out crowd in the 89th minute, when Jonny Steele skipped his way through a host of Timbers defenders in the area and placed a left-footed shot past Perkins.
  • And then, three minutes into stoppage time, Beckerman completed the comeback. Fabian Espindola found room on the left side and stabbed a cross to the top of the box. Beckerman struck a full volley from the top of the box straight into the bottom left corner of the net for the shocking game-winner.
  • Real head coach Jason Kreis made three changes to the team that fell 1-0 to Chivas USA at Rio Tinto Stadium. Nat Borchers, Javier Morales and Alvaro Saborio all made their first starts of the year, in place of Chris Schuler, Sebastian Velasquez and Fabian Espindola.

GOAL: Beckerman strike wins it

REAL SALT LAKE (4-3-1-2): Nick Rimando - Tony Beltran (Jonny Steele 78), Jamison Olave, Nat Borchers, Chris Wingert - Luis Gil (Will Johnson 59), Kyle Beckerman, Ned Grabavoy - Javier Morales - Paulo Junior (Fabian Espindola 70), Alvaro Saborio.

TEAM NEWS

  • Real’s late comeback for their 3-2 win in Portland was the second-latest in overturning a deficit in club history. In a 2-1 win against D.C. United on July 29, 2006, Jeff Cunningham scored goals in the 90th minute and five minutes into stoppage time for a 2-1 RSL victory.
  • “I felt like we were going to score but I don’t want to say too much as I would have been happy with a tie,” said RSL head coach Jason Kreis. “However, I felt that the third goal was a little bit of a gift and I walked away with a smile on my face.”
     
  • With Alvaro Saborio making his first start of the season, it was Fabian Espindola who was sacrificed to the substitutes bench as Paulo Junior maintained his starting place. But Espindola set up the winning goal.
  • “I knew he saw me with his vision that he has,” Beckerman said. “He just put it up and I had a hit at the ball, and luckily it went in. Said Kreis: “Obviously to have [Espindola] out there, you know he’s capable of pulling off a special play, and tonight he did it again.”
  • Jonny Steele also made a difference in his third MLS appearance - all off the substitutes bench - scoring his first league goal.
  • “Tonight, the guys who came off the bench were arguably the most important players we had,” Kreis told KTVX-TV. “Whether or not you’re starting or coming off the bench, you’ve always got to be ready to contribute.”
  • Nat Borchers also returned to the lineup for the first time this season, coming into central defense in place of Chris Schuler.
  • The win in Portland was in the only road game in a five-match span for Real. They now return home for two games this week; RSL lost to Chivas USA 1-0 after opening their home campaign with a 2-0 win vs. New York.
  • “We will take some confidence boosts from this, and of course winning a game gives it to you,” said Beckerman. “But we have to turn around and get ready for the game on Wednesday because it doesn’t stop. You have to take it one game at a time.”

MONTREAL IMPACT

The Montreal Impact suffered a second loss in as many games on their road swing, falling 5-2 to the New York Red Bulls on Saturday afternoon at Red Bull Arena. The Impact are tied for eighth place in the Eastern Conference with 1 point from 4 matches.

LAST MATCH

  • The Impact took the lead after just 19 minutes, when a bouncing ball got away from New York center back Markus Holgersson and allowed Sanna Nyassi to race onto it and fire home easily from close range.
  • New York equalized nine minutes later when Thierry Henry headed home a beautiful cross from Rafa M·rquez. The Mexican international was given plenty of space on the right side and he picked out Henry, who made a well-timed run.
  • But the expansion side were back in front in the 38th minute. Justin Mapp received a pass on the left flank and was allowed time and space to drive across the top of the box, firing a low shot that beat goalkeeper Ryan Meara inside his right post.
  • Yet the hosts pulled level once again in first-half stoppage time after Matteo Ferrari was whistled for a foul on Dax McCarty inside the area. Kenny Cooper claimed the spot kick and scored with a shot down the middle of the goal.
  • The Red Bulls took the lead in the 56th minute. A pass that was picked off by McCarty, and he found Henry at the top of the box. Henry turned and fired a pinpoint shot inside the near post past Donovan Ricketts, who was at full stretch.
  • New York built on their lead in the 72nd minute through a finish from substitute Mehdi Ballouchy that was set up by Henry. Solli whipped in a low cross from the right that the veteran striker flicked on to Ballouchy, who got a slight touch on the ball to put it in back of the net.
  • Henry then capped the scoring and recorded his first hat trick with the Red Bulls a minute before the end, knocking in a rebound after Ricketts spilled a shot from Cooper.
  • Impact head coach Jesse Marsch made two changes to the team that suffered a 2-0 loss to the Columbus Crew at Columbus Crew Stadium. Zarek Valentin came in at right back for the suspended Jeb Brovsky, while Bernardo Corradi started in place of Justin Braun.

MONTREAL IMPACT (4-4-2): Donovan Ricketts - Zarek Valentin (Andrew Wenger 65), Tyson Wahl, Matteo Ferrari, Josh Gardner - Davy Arnaud, Felipe Martins, Patrice Bernier, Justin Mapp (Lamar Neagle 85) - Sanna Nyassi, Bernardo Corradi (Justin Braun 77).

TEAM NEWS

  • The Impact became the first expansion team to concede five goals in a game in their inaugural season since both Real Salt Lake and Chivas USA each did it twice in 2005 (RSL, 1-5 vs Chivas USA, July 9, 2005; 1-5 at D.C. United, Aug. 31, 2005; Chivas USA, 2-5 vs. FC Dallas, May 22, 2005; 2-5 at Chivas, June 4, 2005).
  • HIGHLIGHTS: New York 5, Montreal 2

    “I think there was a lot of frustration from everybody at halftime,” Montreal head coach Jesse Marsch said. “We tried to maintain the focus to the game at hand because we still felt that if we continued to play like we did in the first half, that we’d be able to find chances and get a lead.”

  • With Jeb Brovsky suspended, Zarek Valentin made his first Impact appearance, coming in at right back and playing 65 minutes.
  • Bernardo Corradi was given his first starting assignment, after two appearances off the substitutes bench, starting up top in place of Justin Braun.
  • For the second time in as many games the Impact conceded a penalty kick, this time a vital one that left the match tied 2-2 at halftime.
  • “The penalty is frustrating for sure, but we probably could have taken a 3-1 lead,” Patrice Bernier said. “We had good opportunities in the first half, and I thought we were the better team then. Maybe we were a bit frustrated when entering the dressing room."
  • The Impact have now taken leads in two of their four games this season, coming away with one point from those two games.
  • “When you’re coming to halftime at 0-0 or 2-2, it's still anybody's game,” left back Josh Gardner said. “I thought we had better chances in the first half. We were a little unfortunate not to score maybe one or two more. I don’t think that penalty changes anything. It’d be nice to go into halftime with the lead, but at the end of the day, we’ve got to come out and compete. We cannot give up three goals in the second half.”