MLS Match Preview: D.C. United vs. Real Salt Lake
D.C. UNITED vs REAL SALT LAKE
RFK MEMORIAL STADIUM, Washington, D.C.
March 9, 2013 (WEEK 2, MLS Game #12)
7 p.m. ET (KTVA-ABC)
D.C. United kick off their 2013 home campaign in an interconference match when they take on Real Salt Lake on Saturday evening at RFK Stadium. United opened the new season with another loss in Houston, falling 2-0 in an Eastern Conference Championship rematch. Real got their new campaign off to a great start, knocking off Supporters’ Shield holders San Jose 2-0 on the road.
REFEREE: Sorin Stoica. SAR (bench): Adam Wienckowski; JAR (opposite): James Conlee; 4th: Jose Carlos Rivero
MLS Career: 8 games; FC/gm: 26.9; Y/gm: 4.1; R: 1; pens: 4
DISABLED LIST: none
SUSPENDED: DC: Dwayne De Rosario (through March 10)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
ALL-TIME (15 meetings): United 5 wins, 23 goals … Real 6 wins, 21 goals … Ties 4
AT RFK STADIUM (8 meetings): United 4 wins, 16 goals … Real 0 wins, 5 goals … Ties 3
LAST YEAR (MLS):
9/1: RSL 1, DC 0 (Johnson 49)
- This is the only league meeting between the teams this season.
- Real Salt Lake have never won at RFK Stadium. United have won four of the seven league encounters all-time on East Capitol Street, and also claimed a U.S. Open Cup play-in match there in 2010.
- United won on their first ever trip to Utah in 2005 – a 3-1 win at Rice-Eccles Stadium – and haven’t won there since. Real are 6-0-1 at home since, including a 1-0 victory in last year’s lone meeting.
- Coaches record: Ben Olsen vs. RSL: P3 W1 L1 D1 … Jason Kreis vs. DC: P11 W5 L3 D3
D.C. United went down to defeat to kick off the new season, Houston Dynamo scoring a pair of late goals in a 2-0 victory Saturday evening at BBVA Compass Stadium.
• The Dynamo could have been up by two goals before the halftime break. First, in the 40th minute, Ricardo Clark earned a penalty kick after being brought down by Chris Korb. But United goalkeeper Bill Hamid saved the resulting attempt by Brad Davis and then collected the rebound try from Clark. Then just before the whistle, Korb cleared a Will Bruin header off the line on a corner kick.
• But the home side went ahead in the 80th minute when United defender James Riley beat Ricardo Clark to a corner kick -- only to see his attempted headed clearance fly straight into the roof of the goal.
• Then Houston doubled the lead in the 89th minute when substitute Warren Creavalle worked to keep the ball alive on the end line and pulled back a pass for Clark to finish with a fierce angled finish into the far corner.
• John Thorrington was given the start in midfield by Ben Olsen, the only newcomer to the club in the opening day first XI.
• D.C. UNITED (4-2-3-1): Bill Hamid - Chris Korb, Brandon McDonald, Dejan Jakovic, Daniel Woolard (James Riley 46) - Marcelo Saragosa (Kyle Porter 83), Perry Kitchen - Nick DeLeon, John Thorrington (Marcos Sanchez 73), Chris Pontius - Lionard Pajoy.
WATCH: DC United beaten by Dynamo in season opener
- In the days leading up to the match, United playmaker Dwayne De Rosario was suspended for two matches by the MLS Disciplinary Committee for a preseason incident involving Philadelphia Union’s Danny Cruz.
- In De Rosario’s absence, John Thorrington made his United debut in the central midfield hole behind lone striker Lionard Pajoy.
- “I think they’re a tough team to play here. They continue to be a tough team to play,” head coach Ben Olsen said. “I was encouraged by the second half. The first half we were shaky in a lot of areas, and they were better. Saying that, as usual, we still had good looks. In a place like this, you have to take those. The two, three good chances we had, you have to score those to get out of here. And we didn’t do that.”
- James Riley made his United debut in coming on as a halftime substitute, playing at right back as Chris Korb moved to the opposite flank with Daniel Woolard sacrificed. Riley was the unfortunate scorer of the Dynamo opener.
- “Just unlucky – a good ball whipped in, we both go up, and unfortunately I’m on the wrong end of it and [the ball] hit off my head and in,” he said. “Obviously very disappointed. The guys worked hard. We could of gotten out of here with a draw. It would have been a good result for us.”
- Goalkeeper Bill Hamid started for United and saved the first penalty kick of the new season, turning aside Brad Davis’s spot kick effort late in the first half.
- “Bill came up big in the first half to at least make the game doable for us and I thought the second half was good,” said Olsen.
- Once again, United came away from a trip to Houston with no points. United have never won in Houston on their travels, now 0-8-1 on the road vs. the Dynamo in league play.
- “We had a couple chances on a breakout but other than that they had the majority of the opportunities. I thought in the second half we started moving the ball. People wanted the ball and got on the ball. I didn’t see that in the first half,” said Chris Pontius. “It’s expected in the first 25 minutes of the first half of the year that it’s going to be hectic. They were on the ball and wanted the ball. I thought we were hiding from it and I don’t understand why.”
- Chris Pontius was able to figure in the starting lineup and played the entire match, providing the attacking thrust with Nick DeLeon on the opposite flank.
- “I’m a guy that likes to get a lot of touches on the ball, so when I don’t do it, it’s hard to stay interjected in the game,” said De Leon. “I felt like I could have gotten on the ball. Personally, for me, I will be looking to do that more here Saturday at RFK.”
REAL SALT LAKE
Real Salt Lake kicked off their season with a quality result, going to Buck Shaw Stadium and coming away with a 2-0 win against the Supporters’ Shield holders, San Jose Earthquakes, on Sunday evening.
• Real broke open the scoring in the 71st minute when Alvaro Saborío outraced two San Jose defenders to reach a looping lead pass from Joao Plata, firing home a powerful right-footed drive inside the near post, cleanly beating San Jose goalkeeper Jon Busch.
• RSL finished off the contest five minutes from the end when Kyle Beckerman found Saborío too loosely marked in the Quakes box, and he swiveled nicely from 11 yards out to tuck a left-footed shot inside the far post.
• Robbie Findley started in attack in his return to Major League Soccer, while Khari Stephenson was given a game in midfield against his former club.
• REAL SALT LAKE (4-3-1-2): Nick Rimando - Tony Beltran, Chris Schuler, Kwame Watson-Siriboe, Kenny Mansally - Sebastian Velasquez, Kyle Beckerman, Khari Stephenson (Yordany Alvarez 84) - Luis Gil - Robbie Findley (Joao Plata 65), Alvaro Saborio (Devon Sandoval 87).
WATCH: Real Salt Lake defeat Earthquakes in season opener
- The rebuilt backline featuring Chris Schuler and Kwame Watson-Siriboe in central defense recorded a clean sheet in the season opener, against a San Jose club that scored a league-best 72 goals a season ago.
- "I am really, really proud of my guys effort. My main focus was really if we could out compete a team that is known to be one of the best competitors in the league,” said RSL head coach Jason Kreis. “I thought our guys found ways to weather some storms because San Jose is very dangerous for 10-15 minute periods and will always be dangerous with players like [Chris] Wondolowski.”
- After two seasons in the English second division, Robbie Findley made his first appearance for Real since the 2011, starting in attack and playing 65 minutes.
- “We didn’t have that speedy guy up top to relieve pressure and we don’t miss a beat with him,” said Nick Rimando. “He’s back and knows the system and, being able to hit the ball without even looking up front and know he’s going to chase it down and get us that offensive threat up top, it feels good.”
- RSL also added a real boost of pace over the final 25 minutes, Joao Plata coming in place of Findley and setting up Saborío’s opening goal.
- “[Plata] came on the field and made a terrific pass for Sabo to score the goal,” Kreis said. “In that essence, he did unlock things for us and I think contributed in some defensive ways as well. [I’m] really pleased with his addition and we need to continue to develop him going forward.”
- For Real, the goals were their first in a competitive since last Oct. 6, a 2-1 at the LA Galaxy. Real concluded their 2012 campaign with five consecutive attacking shutouts – two in league play, one on the CONCACAF Champions League, and two in the Western Conference Semifinals.
- “We put out chances away,” said Rimando. “When you’re sound in the back and you get your chances and you put them away, that’s the main goal here. I think last year, we created a lot of chances, but we weren’t putting them away. A team like San Jose, you’re not going to get a lot of them, but when you do you’ve got to put them away.”