SALT LAKE CITY - Rookie and Jamaican National Team member FW Ryan Johnson boosted the Real Salt Lake Reserves (1-0-1, 4 pts.) to a 1-0 victory over the FC Dallas Reserves (0-0-1, 0 pts.) today at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Texas. RSL vaulted to first place in the MLS Reserve Division standings with today's victory, coming six days after a 2-2 draw with Chivas USA last week.
After fellow rookie DF Willis Forko won the ball in the RSL defensive third, the former University of Connecticut standout quickly played a long ball down the left side for Johnson, catching the Dallas defense on the counter. Johnson raced onto the Forko pass, facing two defenders. The speedster from Oregon State pushed the ball wide, split the two defenders, and ran back onto the ball, now behind the defense, before slotting a left-footed shot underneath Dallas goalkeeper Ray Burse Jr. and just inside the far post to give RSL a 1-0 lead and eventual victory.
The goal was Johnson's second of the reserve season, as his first-minute blast last week gave RSL a brief 1-0 lead over Chivas. Johnson also assisted on Kevin Novak's 83rd-minute equalizer in the 2-2 draw.
The day did not start well for the RSL Reserves as starting forward and Dallas native Jamie Watson was forced the leave the game after just seven minutes because of a hamstring injury. FW Adam Acosta was summoned to replace Watson up front alongside Johnson but the pairing failed to challenge FC Dallas' keeper Ray Burse Jr. for much of the opening 45 minutes.
At the other end of the pitch, second-year RSL 'keeper Jay Nolly was tested by former RSL Head Coach John Ellinger protégé FW Abe Thompson who had a pair of good chances and MF Blake Wagner who had one as well. The Indiana University product was equal to the challenge on each occasion and the game remained scoreless at the half.
In addition to losing the game, Dallas lost three players to injury during the game. DF Alex Yi left midway through the opening half with a hamstring injury while DF Justin Moore and MF Dax McCarty were removed in the final 15 minutes. Moore took a knock just above his left eye and McCarty picked up an ankle injury. All will be evaluated next week by the team's training staff.
The RSL Reserves look to make it two wins in a row in their next game against Los Angeles on Sunday, April 30 at a Salt Lake-area site yet to be determined.
RSL - Ryan Johnson 1 (Willis Forko) 84'
RSL - Atiba Harris (Yellow Card) 27'
FCD - Justin Moore (Yellow Card) 53'
RSL - Ryan Johnson (Yellow Card) 70'
Real Salt Lake - Jay Nolly, Gustavo Cabrera, Cameron Knowles (Christian Jimenez 41'), Nik Besagno, Willis Forko, Kevin Novak, Nelson Akwari, Joey Worthen, Atiba Harris, Ryan Johnson, Jamie Watson (Adam Acosta 7'/Ryan Martin 76').
FC Dallas - Ray Burse Jr., Justin Moore (Alex Smith 69'), Drew Moor, Alex Yi (Miguel Guante 25'), David Wagenfuhr, Blake Wagner (Mario Torres 61'), Michael Dello-Russo, Aaron Pitchkolan, Dax McCarty (Josh Greenleaf 72'), Abe Thompson, Dominic Oduro.
RSL "NAME THE MASCOT" CONTEST: RSL invites its supporters to participate in its "Name the Mascot" contest. The winner of the contest receives the opportunity to be part of the mascot's "pride" for a selected home game, helping the yet-to-be-named RSL Lion in on-field promotions and in-stadium appearances. The winner will also receive $150 worth of RSL merchandise and 4 VIP tickets (with airfare and hotel rooms) to the 2006 Sierra Mist MLS All-Star Game! Send your nomination to fun@RealSaltLake.com.
REAL ELITE TRAINING PROGRAM: The Real Elite Training Program is a progressive summer training program for boys and girls ages 8-16 with previous playing experience and a strong desire to reach their maximum potential. There are a total of 18 sessions, three days a week, and two and a half hours per day. The benefits of the program include: exposure to the highest level of training; specializing in technique, tactic, fitness and teamwork; training from RSL soccer players and coaches; and two training shirts and ticket voucher to a select game. For more information, contact Teresa Nelson by phone at (801) 924-8565, by email at tnelson@RealSaltLake.com or by logging onto http://real.saltlake.mlsnet.com/MLS/rsl/player_development/.
MLS CAMPS: The Official Camp and Clinic of Major League Soccer is NOW the Official Camp & Clinic of Real Salt Lake! NEW for 2006, Fantasy Camp and focused Team Training experiences. To find out more about all of RSL's Youth Development Programs, call Scott Reynolds at (801) 924-8575 or by email at SReynolds@RealSaltLake.com. To partner with RSL to host MLS Camps in your community, call us today.
2006 RSL TICKET PACKAGES ON SALE: RSL 2006 ticket packages are on sale and fans can now purchase full season, half season, the "High-Five" pack, flex season and single-game tickets by visiting the RSL Ticket Office at 515 South 700 East, #2R, SLC, UT 84102, by logging onto www.RealSaltLake.com or by contacting the Real Salt Lake Ticket Office at (866) 9-SOCCER.
ACCESS REAL: Real fans can now receive up-to-date information on the team by signing up for the RSL Weekly Newsletter at the fans section of RealSaltLake.com.