REAL SALT LAKE vs COLUMBUS CREW
RIO TINTO STADIUM, Sandy, Utah
August 24, 2013 (WEEK 26, MLS Game #238)
7:30 p.m. PT (KUCW; FS-OH)
Blacked out in Columbus. (Watch on FOX Sports Ohio)
Two teams looking for victories for different purposes meet in an interconference clash when Real Salt Lake play host to the Columbus Crew on Saturday evening at Rio Tinto Stadium. Real come into the game still atop the Western Conference and the MLS overall table, following their last-gasp 3-3 draw at Portland at midweek. The Crew enter the match seven points out of the final playoff spot in the East, despite winning back-to-back matches, last another 2-0 win, this time against Toronto FC.
REFEREE: Silviu Petrescu. AR1 (bench): James Conlee; AR2 (opposite): Kevin Duliba; 4th: Younes Marrakchi
MLS Career: 70 games; FC/gm: 27.7; Y/gm: 3.6; R: 8; pens: 10
DISABLED LIST: none
SUSPENDED: RSL: Yordany Alvarez (through August 25)
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: RSL: Ned Grabavoy, Olmes Garcia … CLB: Federico Higuain, Danny O’Rourke
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: RSL: Lovel Palmer, Yordany Alvarez, Chris Wingert, Javier Morales … CLB: Jairo Arrieta, Tyson Wahl, Kevan George, Bernardo Anor
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
ALL-TIME (16 meetings): Real 4 wins, 13 goals … Crew 10 wins, 22 goals … Ties 1
AT SALT LAKE (7 meetings): Real 3 wins, 9 goals … Crew 3 wins, 6 goals … Ties 1
LAST YEAR (MLS)
6/30: CLB 2, RSL 0 (Tchani 16; Gaven 44)
- This is the only league meeting between the teams this season.
- The Crew have won the last three meetings between the teams, including a 2-0 victory last June 30 at Crew Stadium. RSL’s last victory in the series came Aug. 14, 2010 in Sandy.
- The teams also met in the 2009 Eastern Conference semifinals, and 2010 CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals, won on both occasions by RSL.
- Coaches record: Jason Kreis vs. CLB: P5 W3 L1 D1 … Robert Warzycha vs. RSL: P5 W3 L1 D1
REAL SALT LAKE
Real Salt Lake saw their road winless streak extended to four matches, but this time with a quality result, going down a man yet coming back for a 3-3 draw with the Portland Timbers on Wednesday evening at Jeld-Wen Field. RSL lead the Western Conference with 42 points from 25 games.
- Portland struck first in the 24th minute when Diego Valeri picked out Rodney Wallace at the top of the six on a free kick from the left, and Wallace sent a clinical header past RSL goalkeeper Jeff Attinella.
- But RSL found the equalizer in the 38th minute after a Javier Morales cross found Joao Plata in the box. Plata saw his shot stopped by Portland ‘keeper Donovan Ricketts, but Nat Borchers was on the spot to tap home the rebound from close range.
- Real pulled ahead just before halftime when Morales got tangled up with Portland defender Andrew Jean-Baptiste, leading referee Ricardo Salazar to point to the spot, where Morales easily converted. But the Timbers pulled level in the 56th minute after defender Brandon McDonald was called for a handball in the box, and Diego Valeri calmly converted the spot kick.
- With 11 minutes to play, RSL went a man down when Yordany Alvarez saw a straight red card for a hard tackle on Diego Chara. The Timbers took advantage four minutes from the end when a cross from the left fell right to the feet of Kalif Alhassan off an RSL defender, and he blasted home from 12 yards out.
- Yet Real had one final answer. A low pass from the right flank was cleared by Jean-Baptiste -- but only as far as Cole Grossman, and he stroked home a low shot inside the right post from the edge of the box.
- RSL head coach Jason Kreis made five changes to the team that lost 4-2 to the LA Galaxy at StubHub Center. Jeff Attinella came in between the posts for Nick Rimando, Brandon McDonald started in central defense for Carlos Salcedo, Khari Stephenson and Yordany Alvarez entered the midfield for Luis Gil and the suspended Kyle Beckerman, and Robbie Findley came in up top for Alvaro Saborio.
- REAL SALT LAKE (4-3-1-2): Jeff Attinella - Tony Beltran, Brandon McDonald, Nat Borchers, Chris Wingert - Ned Grabavoy, Yordany Alvarez (ejected 79), Khari Stephenson (Luis Gil 62) - Javier Morales - Robbie Findley (Olmes Garcia 75), Joao Plata (Cole Grossman 82).
- While Real saw their road winless run extended to four matches and have won just once in the last six league games, they did maintain their grip on the Western Conference lead and the MLS overall standings.
- “I thought that they deserved more than what they were going to be getting. Had we walked out of here with a loss, I think the guys would have worked harder than that and deserved more,” said RSL head coach Jason Kreis. “So, I'm really, really pleased that we scored that late goal and have them hold on to maintain the draw.”
- Cole Grossman made his first league appearance since suffering a concussion against FC Dallas on March 23, and scored the second goal of his MLS career.
- “Cole has been playing extremely well in training lately,” said Kreis, “scoring lots of goals. So it didn’t surprise me that the ball comes onto his foot and he knows what to do with it.”
- Said Grossman: “I think that anybody that has had a concussion knows it’s a tough process; long road. It’s been hard for me. Some days you feel great. Some days you don’t feel so great. It feels good to help the team in this game and just keep fighting and work my way back into the 18.”
- With Nick Rimando suffering from flu-like symptoms, Jeff Attinella again stepped between the posts, his third start in the last six matches.
- “Been there, done that,” said Kreis. “Some of the best players on our team have missed games for one reason or another. We just look down the sideline and say, ‘OK, it’s your turn.’”
- Alvaro Saborío was also out with an injury suffered against the LA Galaxy, and in his stead, Javier Morales converted the penalty kick in the first half for his ninth goal of the season.
- After setting up both goals in the loss at the LA Galaxy for his first two assists this year, Nat Borchers scored his first goal of the season, his first goal since last Aug. 11 vs. Vancouver.
- RSL conceded a third goal from a free kick over the last six matches. Of the last 15 goals Real have allowed, since July 20, five have come on set pieces (also two from corners), and three have come from penalty kicks,
- “With set pieces, it's just about commitment, so I'm not really sure what happened on that one – we'll go back and look at it,” said defender Tony Beltran. “But we take pride in not giving up things on set pieces and trying to get stuff at the other end on set pieces. So, it's a big disappointment to give up that goal but we have to move forward from it.”
The Columbus Crew won their second match on the trot, defeating Toronto FC 2-0 on Saturday evening at Crew Stadium. The Crew are in eighth place in the Eastern Conference with 29 points from 24 matches.
- The Crew opened the scoring in the 19th minute. Chad Barson found Bernardo Anor with a cross, and he fired a shot into Toronto 'keeper Joe Bendik. The rebound popped out to Federico Higuain and he slotted home past the displaced goalkeeper.
- Higuain and the Crew hit for the double in the 67th, when he sized up Bendik, who was only steps off his line, and floated a perfectly placed chip over the Toronto goalkeeper.
- Crew head coach Robert Warzycha made no changes to the team that took a 2-0 victory against the New York Red Bulls at Crew Stadium
- COLUMBUS CREW (4-4-1-1): Matt Lampson - Chad Barson, Josh Williams, Chad Marshall, Agustin Viana - Dominic Oduro, Bernardo Anor, Wil Trapp, Justin Meram (Danny O'Rourke 66) - Federico Higuain (Konrad Warzycha 90) - Jairo Arrieta (Ethan Finlay 83)
- The Crew have won back-to-back games for the first time this season, after their second three-game losing streak of the year (also a season-long).
- “It feels great. Two wins in a row is a great confidence booster for us,” midfielder Wil Trapp said. “It's huge. Two wins at home to get the fans back into it is something we can definitely build off of.”
- Crew midfielder Federico Higuaín recorded his second consecutive two-goal game, again netting both goals in a 2-0 victory. Higuaín has nine goals this season, tied for sixth in the MLS Golden Boot standings, and for the second consecutive week scored on an audacious chip from outside the penalty area.
- “We needed somebody who would finish our chances. We had three or four chances that we could have probably scored. Chad [Marshall] had a header in the first half and Dominic [Oduro] had two or three in the second half. I’m glad that Pipa’s [Higuain] experience has paid off,” Warzycha said. “The first goal, the rebound, he was in the right place at the right time. The second one; we talk about closing out games and scoring another goal, and that’s what he did.”
- The two-goal game came two days before the one-year anniversary of his MLS debut. Over the calendar year since his arrival in MLS, Higuain has 14 goals and 13 assists in 37 appearances.
- “They're all important, especially when they help the team win,” Higuain said. “Since I got here, I've always said the same thing, it's 18 players who get together on the day of the game, 30 players who train during the week, 11 players who come out on the pitch, so the responsibility falls on the whole team and it's the whole team that gets these victories.”
- It was also a second consecutive defensive shutout for the Crew – also a first this season. “I think if you look at the past two games, what we've done is we didn't settle for just one goal,” Trapp said. “We went out and got that second one, and that gives us that space where the other team starts to kind of quit on it a little bit and we can close the game.”
- It was also the 70th victory for Robert Warzycha as a head coach, tying Tom Fitzgerald for the most in Crew club history.
- “It's a number that after a few years you can look back and say, 'OK, I was there,’” Warzycha said. “It's nice to win games, and 70 is a pretty good number. It shows that we won some games in the past and when I was the coach here, but it's not the most important thing for me."this, I’ll be a much better coach for this. I will.”