REAL SALT LAKE v COLUMBUS CREW
RICE-ECCLES STADIUM, Salt Lake City, Utah
7 p.m. MT (ONN)
May 6, 2006 (WEEK #6) / MLS Game #32
The teams at the foot of their respective conferences meet for the first time this season, both trying to get their 2006 campaigns on track. Real Salt Lake haven't won since last August, going their first five games this season with just a single draw to their credit. The Columbus Crew have one victory as they sit in a three-way tie for fourth place in the East, but their one win did come on the road against West opposition.
REFEREE: Ben Jones. SAR (bench): Jose Corro; JAR (opposite): Corey Rockwell; 4th: Ramon Hernandez
MLS Career: 8 games; FC/gm: 28.3; Y/gm: 4.1; R: 2; pens: 2
MLS 2006: first game
Games involving Real: P2 W0 L0 T2; FC/gm: 27.5; Y/gm: 3.0; R: 0; pens: 1
Games involving Crew: P1 W1 L0 T0; FC/gm: 22.0; Y/gm: 4.0; R: 1; pens: 0
INJURY REPORT: REAL SALT LAKE - OUT: DF Paul Broome (L ankle internal derangement); MF Seth Trembly (L knee ACL tear); PROBABLE: FW Jamie Watson (L knee sprain); DF Eddie Pope (low back strain); DF Gustavo Cabrera (L knee sprain); FW Jeff Cunningham (R groin strain) ... COLUMBUS CREW - OUT: MF Duncan Oughton (R knee), GK Jonny Walker (lower back pain), DF Jed Zayner (L knee); GK Bill Gaudette (R hand); MF Danny Szetela (L foot fracture); MF Jacob Thomas (R ankle sprain); DF Marcos Gonzalez (L hamstring); MF Eddie Gaven (L ankle sprain); QUESTIONABLE: DF Chad Marshall (R hip)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED: RSL: FW Jason Kreis (through May 7)
This is the first of two league meetings between the clubs, the only one scheduled for Rice-Eccles Stadium. Their lone meeting at Crew Stadium is set for Aug. 16.
ALL-TIME (2 meetings): Real 0 wins (0 shootout), 1 goal ... Crew 2 wins (0 shootout), 4 goals ... 0 draws
AT SALT LAKE: (1 meeting): Real 0 wins (0 shootout), 1 goal ... Crew 1 win (0 shootout), 2 goals ... 0 draws
LAST YEAR (MLS):
A year ago, the Crew won both encounters in Real's inaugural season, winning once in each stadium. A Crew player hit for a double in each game - Frankie Hejduk in the first in Columbus, and Edson Buddle in the second on the Wasatch Front.
Coaches record: John Ellinger vs. CLB: P2 W0 L2 D0 ... Sigi Schmid v RSL: first meeting
5/21: CLB 2, RSL 0 (Hejduk 14, 37)
9/24: RSL 1, CLB 2 (Williams 86 - Buddle 8, 45)
REAL SALT LAKE
Landon Donovan took over the game as the Galaxy won in their first match of the season outside of southern California, keeping Real winless on the campaign as their MLS-record streak was extended.
Real Salt Lake remained winless for the 2006 season - and still without a victory since last August - after falling 3-2 to the Los Angeles Galaxy last Saturday afternoon at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Real have one point from their five matches thus far, three behind the fourth-place tie between Colorado Rapids and Chivas USA, and 10 points behind first-place FC Dallas.
The home side got off to a dream start, a long ball from Carey Talley masterfully dummied by Jeff Cunningham, allowing Andy Williams to drive a low cross across the face of goal where Jason Kreis stormed in at the back post to slide in and knock it home for his MLS-best 102nd career goal (6).
But just five minutes later Donovan pulled the Galaxy level, dispossessing Eddie Pope at the top of the Real penalty area and racing around his U.S. international teammate to collect the ball before firing past Scott Garlick inside the far post.
Then in the 26th minute the Galaxy pulled ahead, Donovan swinging a pass out to the right flank where Chris Albright whipped a cross into the goal area, Cobi Jones steaming in to dive and head home from close range.
On the hour, the Galaxy increased their lead when Donovan split the Real defense with a perfect through ball from just inside the center circle, Herculez Gomez getting onto the end of it and slotting the ball home for his first goal of the campaign.
Real pulled a goal back with 16 minutes left when Kreis drove a low centering pass to the near post for Atiba Harris to nip in and knock the ball home, but Real just couldn't find the equalizer, the job made all but impossible when Kreis was sent off in the 87th minute after receiving two bookings in four minutes.
Real head coach John Ellinger made one change to the team that lost 2-1 to Houston Dynamo, Ryan Johnson coming on the left side of midfield for Mehdi Ballouchy. As well, Andy Williams moved into the playmaking midfield role with Jason Kreis moving forward to partner Jeff Cunningham.
Here's Ellinger's team (3-4-1-2): Scott Garlick - Carey Talley, Eddie Pope, Daniel Torres - Chris Klein, Kenny Cutler, Douglas Sequeira, Ryan Johnson (Mehdi Ballouchy 71) - Andy Williams (Chris Brown 46) - Jason Kreis, Jeff Cunningham (Atiba Harris 46). [Substitutes Not Used: Nelson Akwari, Christian Jimenez, Jay Nolly, Kevin Novak]
"People have to show up to play," Ellinger said. "And it's disappointing and frustrating - I'm sure for the fans, I'm sure for the coaching staff and the teammates - when players don't show up to play."
At halftime, Ellinger took off Andy Williams and Jeff Cunningham, and brought on Atiba Harris and Chris Brown. "It takes work from your forwards to do that and we just didn't get that kind of effort and there's no sense in putting guys on the field that aren't going to work," Ellinger said. "We need an honest effort every game, especially at home. It's criminal that we didn't get that kind of effort at home from some of the guys."
Real got off to a dream start, with the lead after just six minutes - but 20 minutes later they were again down a goal.
"I don't know how many goals we've scored this year, but it seems right after we score we're giving them right back up, and if we're going to win any games you can't do that," said Salt Lake midfielder Chris Klein to the Deseret News. "We're starting to run out of excuses, to be real honest. It doesn't matter how we play, you've got to get results at some point."
RSL has allowed a league-worst 11 goals after just five matches - a pace that would put them ahead of their league record 65 goals allowed last year.
"When they have time and space in the center of the midfield to pick their heads up and turn and run at our guys, that's a problem," said Klein to the Deseret News. "I thought we lacked pressure in the first half, but I thought we had it in the second half.
Real's MLS-record winless is now at 17 matches dating back to last August. "It's not like they're getting half-chances against us," Klein said to The Salt Lake Tribune. "They're getting point-blank breakaways, one-on-ones, where we kind of leave Scott out to dry. And that's not a back four thing. That's an everyone thing, pressure on the ball all over the field. So, our effort has been there, it's been spotty at times, but whatever it is, we have to figure it out."
The Wizards went back to their winning ways after seeing their perfect record put to an end through a stoppage-time goal the week before in Frisco, while the home side failed to build on their first win of the campaign.
While the Crew owned the majority of the play - especially in the second half - it was a late goal from Josh Wolff finishing off a good passing move that gave Kansas City the victory. Sasha Victorine raced in on Crew 'keeper Jon Busch and got him to commit before sliding a pass to Wolff for him to finish into the open goal in the 74th minute, the first of the season for the U.S. international.
Crew boss Sigi Schmid made four changes to the team that defeated the Los Angeles Galaxy the week before at The Home Depot Center. Both center backs were out to injury from the week before (Marcos Gonzalez and Chad Marshall), meaning Ritchie Kotschau and Tim Ward came into the team in the back four. Kyle Martino replaced the injured Jacob Thomas in a wide midfield role, and Jason Garey made his first MLS start in attack, for Kei Kamara.
Here's Schmid's team (4-4-1-1): Jon Busch - Frankie Hejduk, Ritchie Kotschau, Rusty Pierce, Tim Ward - Kyle Martino, Brandon Moss, Jose Retiz (Eric Vasquez 79), Eddie Gaven (Kei Kamara 15) - Sebastian Rozental (Knox Cameron 86) - Jason Garey. [Substitutes Not Used: Andy Gruenebaum, Ezra Hendrickson, Chris Leitch, John Wolyniec]
"It was a game I thought we didn't deserve to lose," said Crew head coach Sigi Schmid. "I thought over the 90 minutes that we were the better team."
The Columbus Crew failed to build upon their first victory of the season, falling at home 1-0 to the Kansas City Wizards last Saturday at Crew Stadium. The Crew are tied for fourth place in the Eastern Conference with four points from their first five matches, level with the New York Red Bulls and New England Revolution, eight points out of first place.
Columbus kept the high-scoring Wizards forwards under control for much of the night in spite of a last-minute change in the back when Chad Marshall failed a fitness test before the match.
"I thought we played well. We created a lot of chances," said Busch. "We pretty much handled them defensively except for maybe one or two times." Added Schmid: "I thought Rusty Pierce and [Ritchie] Kotschau played well. Rusty has played well for us all season. I thought we had them at bay. A lot of their shots were from 30 yards."
Pierce and Kotschau paired as the central defensive duo for the first time because Marcos Gonzalez and Marshall were ruled out through injuries. Despite not playing together before in the center of defense, the two meshed quickly on the field.
"It worked out because we were both talking to each other quite a bit. We were not crossing paths," said Kotschau. "I think overall defensively we were pretty decent, just like last game."
Added Busch: "Chad is a very good player and we missed certain parts of his game like in the air. We have other guys who can fill in admirably in his place. I thought (left back) Timmy Ward did a wonderful job once he settled in. Rusty and Ritchie did great."
In addition to those injuries, Eddie Gaven left the match after 15 minutes by way of a rough tackle by Kerry Zavagnin. "It is tough when you lose one starter, Chad Marshall, before the game and lose another (Gaven) 10 minutes into the game," said Schmid. "He gets stepped on in the mid-shin area and it is not even a card."
Still, Schmid was pleased with the overall effort. "If you look at our game against them in week one to now, you can see a huge improvement in our team and that is minus a lot of players that would be competing for starting spots," he said.
Yet, said Crew forward Sebastian Rozental to the Columbus Dispatch: "It's impossible to be happy when you lose a game, especially a game like this. I thought we played much better than them. We deserved at least a draw. The result was not there, but we have to continue working like this. Winning will come for sure."