PHOENIX – Real Salt Lake’s intrasquad scrimmage Sunday afternoon at the Reach 11 Soccer Complex took place without a number of front-line players on either side. However, that didn’t mean the three-period match lacked for highlights and standout efforts.
The Cobalt side defeated the Claret squad 3-1 as forward Fabián Espíndola scored a goal and added an assist, Ned Grabavoy added a goal, and 22-year-old Argentine forward Emiliano Bonfigli, a Supplemental Draft pick, scored and recorded an assist for the winning team.
Luis Gil, the 18-year-old central midfielder whose role is expected to increase this season after departure of a number of veterans this offseason and injuries to others, scored off a pass from defender Wes Knight in the 21st minute of the third stanza for the Claret side.
Coach Jason Kreis divided the match into three 25-minute periods. RSL did not have the services of midfielders Kyle Beckerman and Will Johnson, who have minor injuries and are expected back in the fold soon. Midfielder Javier Morales was given rest and defender Nat Borchers and forward Álvaro Saborío attended the match but figure to be out until at least the regular-season opener next month.
Espíndola slotted home his goal in the seventh minute of the first period off a cross from Bonfigli. The two Argentines linked up again later in the first stanza, when Espíndola served Bonfigli from the left side in the 22nd minute.
“What you see typically is at this time of year is the guys that can make individual plays are going to be the ones that probably score the goals,” Kreis told reporters after the match.
Grabavoy beat No. 1 goalkeeper Nick Rimando, who had switched teams after the first period, in the 12th minute of the second.
“Obviously, you’d like to walk out of here with no goals scored,” Kreis said. “But I think we have some talented players that can break things down every once in a while, so all in all, I’m very pleased.”
Kreis tried several combinations and sought to give as equal a number of minutes to everyone available as possible.
“It’s all about what we did without the ball today, and a little bit of just philosophy of how we want to defend,” Kreis explained.
Espíndola said the goal and assist were fine but it was more important for him was to help the newer players work in the system.
“I’m feeling good,” the Argentine told MLSsoccer.com. “I worked a some days in Salt Lake [before coming to Arizona], too. We’ve got a little ways to go with rhythm and fitness before we’re there.
"It’s always good to score, but those don’t count for a championship,” Espíndola added. "[It's] better if it’s for a championship."
WATCH: Highlights, reaction from RSL's scrimmage