Real Salt Lake vs. Montreal Impact | MLS Match Preview

REAL SALT LAKE vs MONTRÉAL IMPACT
RIO TINTO STADIUM, Sandy, Utah
July 24, 2014 (WEEK 20, MLS Game #182) 8 p.m. MT (UDN; KUCW-30; TVA)

Real Salt Lake continue their homestand against Canadian opposition when the Montréal Impact visit Rio Tinto Stadium for an interconference clash on Thursday evening. Real started the home stretch with a draw last weekend, a 1-1 result with Vancouver Whitecaps FC. The Impact started their road trip with a 2-1 loss at the Columbus Crew, still looking for their first win away from home this season.

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REFEREE: Drew Fischer. AR1 (bench): George Gansner; AR2 (opposite): Mike Rottersman; 4th: Daniel Radford
MLS Career: 32 games; FC/gm: 26.4; Y/gm: 3.0; R: 2; pens: 9

SUSPENDED: none
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: RSL: Tony Beltran, Javier Morales … MTL: Karl Ouimette
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: RSL: Nat Borchers, Alvaro Saborio, Chris Schuler, Luke Mulholland, Chris Wingert … MTL: Matteo Ferrari, Hernan Bernardello, Felipe Martins, Andres Romero, Hassoun Camara

DISABLED LIST: none
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (2 meetings): Real 1 win, 3 goals … Impact 1 win, 3 goals … Ties 0
AT SALT LAKE (1 meeting): Real 1 win, 1 goal … Impact 0 wins, 0 goals … Ties 0
LAST YEAR (MLS):
5/11: MTL 3, RSL 2 (Martins 39; Di Vaio 80; Ferrari 93+ -- own goal 7; Beckerman 77)

  • This is the only league meeting between the teams this season.
  • The teams have split their two meetings all-time, each winning at home. The Impact won 3-2 last year at Stade Saputo on May 11 in the lone meeting between the clubs; RSL won 1-0 in 2012 at Rio Tinto Stadium in the first encounter ever between the teams.
  • Coaches record: Frank Klopas vs. RSL: P4 W1 L0 T3 … Jeff Cassar vs. MTL: first game

REAL SALT LAKE
Real Salt Lake started their homestand with a result, coming back for a 1-1 draw with Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Saturday evening at Rio Tinto Stadium. RSL are in a tie for second place in the Western Conference with 29 points from 19 matches.

LAST MATCH

  • Whitecaps FC finally broke through in the 73rd minute. RSL defender Nat Borchers was adjudged to have committed a foul in the penalty area, and referee Edvin Jurisevic awarded the penalty. Darren Mattocks converted the resulting spot kick to put Vancouver in the lead.
  • But the home side drew level in the 81st minute. Joao Plata took a flick from midfielder Kyle Beckerman, outran a defender toward the corner, then beat Vancouver goalkeeper David Ousted low at the far post for the leveler.
  • RSL head coach Jeff Cassar made one change to the team that fell 1-0 to the LA Galaxy at StubHub Center. Ned Grabavoy came back into the midfield for John Stertzer.
  • REAL SALT LAKE (4-3-1-2): Nick Rimando - Tony Beltran (Olmes Garcia 78), Chris Schuler, Nat Borchers, Chris Wingert - Ned Grabavoy, Kyle Beckerman, Luis Gil (Luke Mulholland 57) - Javier Morales - Joao Plata, Devon Sandoval (Robbie Findley 58).

TEAM NEWS

  • Since winning three consecutive games in a row as part of a 12-game undefeated run to start the season, Real have won just once in their last eight games, going 1-4-3 since May 24.
  • Joao Plata scored his eighth goal of the season in the draw with Vancouver. Now in his fourth season, Plata had seven goals total over his first three years, with Toronto FC and RSL.
  • “Joao [Plata] took a nice cut inside and had a great finish. That’s what we needed: a great pass that leads right into a nice shot,” RSL head coach Jeff Cassar said. “I thought our passing was just a little bit off. That final ball was just a little off. At the end of the day, no teams gain ground and no teams lose ground.”
  • Plata’s goal was RSL’s first from open play since May 17 (of the previous five goals, three had been from penalties, two from corner kicks).
  • “There’s a lot of talk of not scoring through the run of play, but we got two PKs, that’s through the run of play, so we’ve earned those,” Cassar said. “We’ve just got to continue pushing forward.”
  • Kyle Beckerman had his first assist since March 29, making a third consecutive start since his return from the FIFA World Cup.
  • Robbie Findley made his third league appearance of the season, his first since making his only start of the MLS campaign June 28 vs. Chivas USA.
  • “I’ll talk with the rest of the coaches and see how Robbie feels after the game. He’s had a great last eight days of training – before that, he wasn’t able to train, fully – so I think we’re starting to see him get close to 100 percent,” said Cassar. “You can see his explosion in his run, and that was really nice to see. I think we’re moving forward nicely.”
  • Said Chris Wingert:” I thought when Robbie [Findley] came into the game he changed the entire game, which is not a surprise. He’s just an unbelievable weapon.”
  • Ned Grabavoy made his first start since June 7, playing the full 90 minutes in a midfield role. He had come on as a substitute in each of the last two matches.
  • There was a significant shift late as Olmes Garcia came on for Tony Beltran and RSL went to a 3-4-3 scheme.
  • “It’s not something that I want to do all the time, putting three in the back – especially against a team that played with three up top – but it’s something that we needed,” Cassar said. “It brought in a lot of energy and it really was threatening, a lot of it from Joao [Plata] and Robbie [Findley], but if we go to it that means that we’re behind.”

MONTREAL IMPACT
The Montréal Impact had their losing run extended to three games, starting their road swing with a 2-1 loss to the Columbus Crew on Saturday evening at Crew Stadium. The Impact are in 10th place in the Eastern Conference with 14 points from 17 games.

LAST MATCH

  • The Impact took the lead in the 36th minute thanks to a gift. An errant back pass from Michael Parkhurst allowed Justin Mapp to find an open Marco Di Vaio on the break. He gathered the ball, beat a defender and slotted a shot past a diving Steve Clark for the opener.
  • But Bernardo Anor singlehandedly brought the Crew back after the interval. First, in the 56th minute, Tony Tchani found Anor just outside the box and he connected with a fierce swing of his left foot, throttling a shot past goalkeeper Evan Bush.
  • Then in the 75th minute, Anor hit for the winner. He gathered the ball near midfield and turned toward the Montreal goal, before unleashing a furious strike with his right foot that bent away from Bush and into the net as the helpless 'keeper dove to his right.
  • Impact head coach Frank Klopas made one change to the team that fell 2-1 to Sporting Kansas City at Stade Saputo. Evan Bush started between the posts in place of Troy Perkins.
  • MONTREAL IMPACT (4-4-2): Evan Bush - Hassoun Camara, Heath Pearce, Matteo Ferrari, Krzysztof Krol - Justin Mapp (Maxim Tissot 89), Felipe Martins (Calum Mallace 89), Patrice Bernier (Issey Nakajima-Farran 80), Andres Romero - Marco Di Vaio, Jack McInerney.

TEAM NEWS

  • The Impact lost their third consecutive game with the defeat at Columbus. Montréal is still the only team in MLS without an away victory this season, now 0-7-3 on their travels.
  • “It’s hard, it’s difficult, because you're always looking forward to the next game, and you say this is the moment,” Impact head coach Frank Klopas said. “But it’s just games like this, that you feel like you’ve got to get something out of it, and we’re not.”
  • Added Heath Pearce: “I’m at a loss for words. We have to find a way to keep going, whether its going our way or not. It feels like we’ve been swimming against the current since the start of the season. It’s a really tough time.”
  • Marco Di Vaio scored goals in back-to-back games after his strike vs. Columbus, giving him four league goals this year. He netted the last three Impact goals, over the previous four games. A year ago, Di Vaio was third in the MLS Golden Boot standings with 20 goals.
  • Justin Mapp recorded an assist for a second consecutive game, now leading the club with seven assists. He has made three consecutive starts after being held out of the first team in four straight games.
  • “In the run of play, I think we had some clear looks to make it 2-0, but we couldn’t capitalize,” said Klopas. “I think we lost the game in the midfield. We weren’t quick enough on the ball.”
  • Said midfielder Patrice Bernier: “We have to get results. There is a short window left for us to believe that something can be done. With that, you start thinking of next year. There’s a short window of games. The good fortune is that we have a few games this week, but we have to get results.”
  • Evan Bush made his first start in goal in MLS play this season. Bush started all four games and played every minutes between the posts for the Impact in their Canadian Championship run.
  • “I think that we have two very good goalkeepers. Going into the season, I said that he [Bush] is going to play in the Canadian Cup,” said Klopas. “There are moments in the season where one guy is not in the best form and the other guy is and you have to rework. Even though it’s a little more difficult to do so because, the keepers need rhythm with the amount of games coming up. Take nothing away from Troy. I think he is a very good and experienced goalkeeper. Evan has been looking sharp and I think it was his moment to play.”