Scoring drought continues for RSL
Real Salt Lake suffered their fifth consecutive shutout Saturday night, falling 3-0 to an energetic San Jose Earthquakes at Spartan Stadium. With the loss, the expansion club falls seven points behind the Quakes and are now in fifth place in the Western Conference.
Real Salt Lake got off to a dreadful start, conceding a goal in just under two minutes of action. San Jose midfielders Brad Davis and Dwayne De Rosario executed a give-and-go along the left sideline, resulting in a Davis cross that was hammered into the net on a first-time shot by Mark Chung.
The situation quickly worsened for RSL as newly acquired Kelly Gray scored in his San Jose debut to make it 2-0. Gray played the ball along the right sideline to Ronald Cerritos, who held the ball as the right back continued his run upfield.
Cerritos played a through ball to Gray, who dribbled around RSL defender Matt Behncke and beat goalkeeper D.J. Countess with a right-footed blast into the lower left corner from a tight angle.
Real's offensive woes were never more evident than in the first half, as they were unable to generate anything remotely resembling a scoring opportunity in the first 45 minutes.
Despite holding a one-man advantage in the midfield with its new-look 3-5-2 formation, RSL could not generate much in the way of possession. The Earthquakes were able to routinely knock the ball around the field, as RSL did not exert much pressure in the midfield, especially against Cerritos, who was able to find loads of space by dropping back into the midfield.
RSL once again allowed too much space on the outside and was burned for a third goal in the 35th minute. This time, Wade Barrett came up from his left back spot to work a combination with Cerritos, resulting in a left-footed cross by Cerritos back to Barrett, who met the ball with a lunging volley from five yards out.
That was the score at the break, as Salt Lake mustered just one shot on goal in the first half. RSL made drastic changes at the break, replacing ineffective midfielders Andy Williams and Leighton O'Brien with Seth Trembly and Leslie Fitzpatrick, but the moves did not pay dividends in the second half.
Salt Lake nearly ended its massive scoring drought in the 49th minute, when Clint Mathis sent in a dangerous free kick from 35 yards out. Behncke shielded San Jose goalkeeper Pat Onstad, who was forced to make a reflex save, knocking the ball over the end line for a corner kick.
During the early part of the second half, Real Salt Lake continued to be the aggressor, and Jason Kreis nearly got RSL on the board in the 64th minute. Second half substitute Jamie Watson took advantage of a series of mistakes by Barrett and the rookie crossed the ball to Kreis, but the veteran could not generate enough power on a shot from five yards out and Onstad was able to make the save.
MLSnet.com Man of the Match: Ronald Cerritos (San Jose Earthquakes)
Danny Kadah is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.
Real Salt Lake (3-8-2) vs. San Jose Earthquakes (4-3-6)
June 18, 2005 -- Spartan Stadium
SJ -- Mark Chung 2 (Brad Davis 7, Dwayne De Rosario 6) 2
SJ -- Kelly Gray 2 (Ronald Cerritos 3) 13
SJ -- Wade Barrett 1 (Ronald Cerritos 4) 35
Real Salt Lake -- D.J. Countess, Matt Behncke, Eddie Pope, Brian Kamler, Andy Williams (Seth Trembly 46), Kenny Cutler, Jason Kreis, Leighton O'Brien (Leslie Fitzpatrick 46), Chris Brown, Clint Mathis, Dante Washington (Jamie Watson 62).
Substitutes Not Used: Cameron Knowles, Jay Nolly.
TOTAL SHOTS: 7 (Jason Kreis 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 3 (3 tied with 1); FOULS: 19 (Eddie Pope 3); OFFSIDES: 2 (Clint Mathis 2); CORNER KICKS: 5 (Clint Mathis 4); SAVES: 2 (D.J. Countess 2)
San Jose Earthquakes -- Pat Onstad, Kelly Gray, Danny Califf, Eddie Robinson, Wade Barrett, Mark Chung, Ricardo Clark, Dwayne De Rosario, Brad Davis, Ronald Cerritos (Brian Ching 82), Alejandro Moreno (Julian Nash 87).
Substitutes Not Used: Chris Aloisi, Ryan Cochrane, Jon Conway, Kevin Goldthwaite, Wes Hart, Danny O'Rourke, Ian Russell.
TOTAL SHOTS: 15 (Ronald Cerritos 3, Brad Davis 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 5 (Mark Chung 2); FOULS: 21 (Ricardo Clark 5); OFFSIDES: 7 (Ronald Cerritos 4); CORNER KICKS: 4 (Brad Davis 3); SAVES: 3 (Pat Onstad 3)
RSL -- Brian Kamler (caution; Pushing, Holding) 30
SJ -- Alejandro Moreno (caution; Pushing, Holding) 31
RSL -- Jason Kreis (caution; Tackle from Behind) 32
SJ -- Dwayne De Rosario (caution; Pushing, Holding) 59
RSL -- Clint Mathis (caution; Tackle from Behind) 67
SJ -- Wade Barrett (caution; Pushing, Holding) 69
Referee: Ramon Hernandez
Referee's Assistants: -Chris Strickland; Anthony Vasoli
4th Official: Ricardo Valenzuela
Time of Game: 1:48
Weather: Partly Cloudy-and-70-degrees
All Statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial.