RSL unravel against Chivas USA
When Real Salt Lake defender Brian Kamler knocked the ball into his own net just minutes after kickoff, it was clear that he and his teammates were in for a long night. The fourth-minute own goal indeed set the tone of the match as RSL was beaten 5-1 by Chivas USA on Saturday night at The Home Depot Center.
Heading into the match, RSL was riding an eight-game winless streak and it seemed that a match against struggling Chivas was exactly what they needed to right themselves. Instead, RSL dropped its second match of the year to Chivas USA -- their only two wins on the season.
Kamler's own goal put Real behind early and they were unable to dig themselves out of that hole. Chivas USA's Hector Cuadros then converted a penalty kick to make it 2-0. RSL's Clint Mathis scored the visitors' lone goal of the match midway through the first half but it was all Chivas after that as Matt Taylor, Antonio Martinez and Isaac Romo scored second half goals to make it a blowout.
RSL were forced to play the match severely short-handed, as five of its regulars were out of action. RSL took the biggest hit in defense with the absences of three of its defensive starters: Eddie Pope (U.S. national team duty), Brian Dunseth (red card suspension) and Rusty Pierce (hamstring injury).
The makeshift defense that RSL was forced to field was unable to handle even Chivas' less-than-potent attack.
Offensively, RSL was without the services of Andy Williams (Jamaican national team duty), who scored against Chivas in their last meeting, a 2-0 Real home win on May 18.
With new changes to the lineup, it was clear that Real Salt Lake could not afford to concede any early goals to Chivas. However, concede an early goal is exactly what they did.
Just four minutes after the opening whistle, RSL dug itself into a big hole. Goalkeeper D.J. Countess punched a ball away just in front of goal but it landed at Taylor's feet. He controlled the ball, sped past two RSL defenders and sent a low ball back across the goal. In the confusion, the ball deflected off of Kamler and past Countess for an own goal.
RSL's three defensive absences became even more painfully evident in the 16th minute as another lapse cost them dearly.
It was Taylor again creating problems for RSL, this time the Chivas forward slipping a ball through the RSL backline and into the penalty area. Martins ran on to the ball but before he could reach it, he was dragged down from behind by RSL defender Cameron Knowles and awarded a penalty kick.
Cuadros coolly converted the ensuing spot kick, sending a low, hard shot into the left side of the goal, just out of Countess' reach to double the lead.
RSL kept battling despite the early two-goal deficit and cut the Chivas lead in half in the 23rd minute. RSL forward Jamie Watson was brought down just outside of the Chivas penalty area earning a free kick.
Mathis stepped up to take the 21-yard free kick and sent a low shot past the right side of the wall. The shot beat Chivas 'keeper Brad Guzan, slammed into the inside right post and into the goal to make it 2-1. It was Mathis' first goal of the season.
In the 35th minute, RSL nearly scored its second own goal of the match. Chivas USA's Martinez sent a ball into the RSL penalty area and Countess got a foot on it to clear it away but the ball didn't clear defender Matt Behncke. The ball struck Behncke, who was standing directly in front of Countess, in the chest and bounced over Countess toward the goal. Just before it crossed the goal line, however, Behncke cleared the ball out of harm's way.
Chivas had the first clear opportunity of the second half. It was Countess who came up big on the play, knocking away a point-blank shot by Martins in the 51st minute.
Two minutes later, Cuadros found Martinez as Chivas quickly swung the play from right to left, and after he skipped into the area unmolested he beat Countess on an angled shot from eight yards.
In the 55th minute, Taylor got on the board, working a give-and-go with Cuadros to perfection, collecting a neat backheel before knocking in a six-yard shot past a helpless Countess.
RSL spent the remaining 35 minutes fending off Chivas' persistent attack, and in the 84th minute, Romo rounded out the scoreline. Taylor intercepted a clearance and slipped a pass between a defender's legs to the substitute, who sent a hard shot from close range past Countess.
MLSnet.com Man of the Match: Matt Taylor (Chivas USA)
Danny Bueno is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.
Real Salt Lake (3-10-4) vs. Chivas USA (2-13-3)
July 09, 2005 -- The Home Depot Center
CHV -- own goal (Brian Kamler) 4
CHV -- Hector Cuadros 4 (penalty kick) 16
RSL -- Clint Mathis 1 (unassisted) 23
CHV -- Antonio Martinez 2 (Matt Taylor 1) 53
CHV -- Matt Taylor 2 (Hector Cuadros 4, Antonio Martinez 2) 55
CHV -- Isaac Romo 3 (Matt Taylor 2) 83
Real Salt Lake -- D.J. Countess, Brian Kamler, Matt Behncke (Leslie Fitzpatrick 63), Cameron Knowles, Nelson Akwari, Seth Trembly, Kenny Cutler, Clint Mathis, Chris Brown (Dipsy Selolwane 71), Jamie Watson (Dante Washington 77), Jason Kreis.
Substitutes Not Used: Jay Nolly, Leighton O'Brien.
TOTAL SHOTS: 8 (Jason Kreis 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 3 (3 tied with 1); FOULS: 20 (Seth Trembly 4); OFFSIDES: 0; CORNER KICKS: 1 (Clint Mathis 1); SAVES: 7 (D.J. Countess 6)
Chivas USA -- Brad Guzan, Armando Begines, Ezra Hendrickson, Esteban Arias (Alfonso Loera 68), Francisco Gomez, Francisco Mendoza, Ramon Ramirez, Hector Cuadros, Antonio Martinez, Thiago Martins (Isaac Romo 71), Matt Taylor.
Substitutes Not Used: Victor Arbelaez, Javier Barragan, Milton Blanco, Jesus Ochoa, Arturo Torres.
TOTAL SHOTS: 24 (Isaac Romo 5); SHOTS ON GOAL: 11 (Antonio Martinez 3); FOULS: 16 (Matt Taylor 3); OFFSIDES: 0; CORNER KICKS: 9 (Antonio Martinez 7); SAVES: 2 (Brad Guzan 2)
RSL -- Cameron Knowles (caution; Pushing, Holding) 16
CHV -- Ramon Ramirez (caution; Game Disrepute) 38
CHV -- Thiago Martins (caution; Professional Foul) 57
RSL -- Brian Kamler (caution; Pushing, Holding) 74
Referee: Hilario Grajeda
Referee's Assistants: -Fabio Tovar; Emiliano Monje
4th Official: Ramon Hernandez
Time of Game: 1:49
All statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial.