Preview: Undefeated in seven, RSL host rebounding Crew

9 p.m. ET (KMYU 2.2; ONN)
July 30, 2011 (WEEK 20; MLS Game 196)

Real Salt Lake put their seven-game undefeated run on the line on Saturday evening when they take on the Columbus Crew at Rio Tinto Stadium. Real won for the second game on the trot last weekend, a 4-0 win against a 10-man San Jose Earthquakes. The Crew head back out on the road after rebounding for a 1-0 win against the Portland Timbers last weekend.


REFEREE: Jasen Anno. SAR (bench): Frank Anderson; JAR (opposite): Corey Rockwell; 4th: Fotis Bazakos
MLS Career: 27 games; FC/gm: 22.4; Y/gm: 3.1; R: 17; pens: 7

INJURY REPORT: REAL SALT LAKE—OUT: MF Javier Morales (L ankle fracture dislocation); DOUBTFUL: FW Paulo Jr. (L hamstring strain); QUESTIONABLE: FW Álvaro Saborio (R ankle sprain); PROBABLE: MF Jean Alexandre (R knee pain), MF Nelson Gonzalez (R foot contusion)...COLUMBUS CREW—OUT: MF Tony Tchani (R knee inflammation); DF Josh Williams (R hip labral tear); MF Dilly Duka (R ankle sprain); DOUBTFUL: GK William Hesmer (L quad strain); GK Alex Riggs (R oblique strain); MF Rich Balchan (L adductor strain); QUESTIONABLE: FW Andres Mendoza (L hamstring strain); FW Jeff Cunningham (R knee inflammation)

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: RSL: Luis Gil (U.S. U-17 national team)
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: RSL: Kyle Beckerman...CLB: Julius James
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: RSL: Jean Alexandre, Robbie Russell, Will Johnson, Chris Wingert...CLB: Kevin Burns, Tommy Heinemann, Tony Tchani

ALL-TIME (13 meetings): Real 4 wins, 13 goals...Crew 7 wins, 18 goals...Ties 1
AT SALT LAKE (6 meetings): Real 3 wins, 9 goals...Crew 2 wins, 4 goals...Ties 1

  • Goals from Andres Mendoza and Josh Gardner six minutes apart late in the second half gave Columbus a 2-1 win in the first meeting between the teams, June 8 at Crew Stadium.
  • The Crew have won the last five meetings between the teams at Crew Stadium in league play. But Real did win in Columbus in the 2009 Eastern Conference Semifinals on their way to victory in MLS Cup.
  • The Crew last won at Real Salt Lake in 2006, a 1-0 win at Rice-Eccles Stadium. RSL has won the last three home meetings between the clubs. Columbus has never won in three trips all-time to Rio Tinto Stadium in league and MLS Cup play.
  • Coaches record: Robert Warzycha v RSL: P6 W4 L2 D0... Jason Kreis vs. CLB: P8 W3 L5 D0

6/8: CLB 2, RSL 1 (Mendoza 76, Gardner 82—Olave 7)

  • Real took the lead in the seventh minute. Nelson Gonzalez flighted in a corner kick from the right and Jamison Olave shook off his marker to bounce the ball off the turf and high into the goal.
  • The Crew began their fightback in the 76th minute when Andrés Mendoza converted a penalty kick after Justin Meram was tripped by Olave in the box.
  • Then in the 82nd minute, Josh Gardner score the eventual game-winner when his shot from 22 yards out hit the left thigh of RSL defender Chris Schuler then ricocheted past goalkeeper Nick Rimando.
  • COLUMBUS CREW (4-4-2): William Hesmer - Sebastian Miranda, Chad Marshall, Julius James, Josh Gardner - Eddie Gaven, Kevin Burns (Justin Meram 46), Rich Balchan, Emmanuel Ekpo - Jeff Cunningham (Aaron Horton 89), Andres Mendoza (Andy Iro 85)
  • REAL SALT LAKE (4-3-1-2): Nick Rimando - Tony Beltran, Chris Schuler, Jamison Olave, Chris Wingert - Ned Grabavoy, Kyle Beckerman, Nelson Gonzalez (Luis Gil 59) - Collen Warner (Andy Williams 66) - Jean Alexandre (Robbie Russell 80), Fabian Espindola.


Real Salt Lake won for a second consecutive match and extended their unbeaten streak to seven games, rolling to a 4-0 victory against a 10-man San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday evening at Rio Tinto Stadium. RSL sits in fourth place in the Western Conference, with 33 points from 18 matches.


  • The match turned in the 62nd minute. Earthquakes defender Bobby Burling was sent off after Alvaro Saborio went down in the area under his challenge. Burling was sent off by referee David Gantar, and Saborio converted the resulting penalty for the opening goal.
  • Saborio added another in the 75th minute. Midfielder Ned Grabavoy put a curling ball on frame, which San Jose 'keeper Jon Busch could not control. Saborio was there for the rebound, and easily slotted it into the back of the net.
  • Just a few minutes later, RSL struck again. As Sabor"o took a shot near the penalty spot, teammate Collen Warner got in the way of it, but the ball found its way to the feet of Kyle Beckerman, who drilled the ball into the corner of the net.
  • Defender Jamison Olave added a fourth goal in the 83rd minute, heading home a cross from Arturo Alvarez to round out the scoring.
  • RSL coach Jason Kreis made two changes to the side that defeated FC Dallas 2-0 at Rio Tinto Stadium. Robbie Russell came in for Chris Wingert at fullback, and Fabian Espindola started up top for Luis Gil.
  • REAL SALT LAKE (4-3-1-2): Nick Rimando - Robbie Russell, Jamison Olave, Nat Borchers, Tony Beltran - Ned Grabavoy (Arturo Alvarez 79), Kyle Beckerman, Will Johnson (Luis Gil 84) - Andy Williams (Collen Warner 72) - Fabian Espindola, Alvaro Saborio.


  • The seven-game unbeaten streak in league play (3-0-4), stretching back to June 11, is the third-longest undefeated run in club history, behind 18-game and 10-game runs in 2010.
  •  "I feel that we've been improving every single match for five or six matches. I think this was number seven in league play...we had an Open Cup match that was a bit of a step backwards, but I think tonight we moved forward again," said RSL head coach Jason Kreis. "But we're still looking for 90 minutes of good play. Tonight it was 45, maybe 55; maybe there was 10 minutes of good play in the first half."
  • Alvaro Saborio scored his second two-goal game of the season, also hitting for a pair in the June 25 win against Toronto FC.
  • "His play since he's been back (from the CONCACAF Gold Cup) has been fantastic. He hasn't scored in every game but you don't have to score in every game," Kreis said. " I think that forwards can do a lot of other things, and tonight he did a lot things really well for this team and it was good to see him get on the scoreboard."
  • The shutout was the 10th of the season for RSL, the ninth for goalkeeper Nick Rimando. Real have not allowed a goal in 207 minutes.
  • "You hope that over the course of a season some bounces are going to go your way and some decisions are going to go your way, and so tonight was one," said Kreis. "I still think we have a couple more (calls) that we've got in our pockets."


The Columbus Crew returned home and rebounded for a 1-0 defeat with a victory by the same scoreline, against the Portland Timbers on Saturday evening at Crew Stadium. The Crew have 31 points from 20 games on the season, in a tie for second place in the Eastern Conference.


  • After the Crew had an apparent goal cleared off the line by Darlington Nagbe, the game's lone goal came out of a similarly wild sequence on 69 minutes.
  • Tommy Heinemann's initial shot hit the left post past diving Timbers goalkeeper Troy Perkins. The ball bounced back out into the goalmouth and Gaven was able to flick the ball back toward goal, where it deflected off the chest of Portland defender Mamadou Danso on the goal line and into the net.
  • Crew head coach Robert Warzycha made four changes to the team that went down to a 1-0 defeat to the LA Galaxy at The Home Depot Center. Andy Gruenebaum started in goal in place of William Hesmer, Dejan Rusmir, Tommy Heinemann and Jeff Cunningham came into the team in place of Eric Gehrig, Bernardo Anor and Andres Mendoza.
  • COLUMBUS CREW (4-4-2): Andy Gruenebaum - Sebastian Miranda (Cole Grossman 79), Chad Marshall, Julius James, Josh Gardner - Eddie Gaven, Dejan Rusmir (Kevin Burns 66), Emmanuel Ekpo, Robbie Rogers - Tommy Heinemann, Jeff Cunningham (Emilio Renteria 66).


  • The Crew put an end to their two-game scoreless streak with Eddie Gaven's game-winning goal. They have still scored just two goals in the last five games.
  • "I am not surprised because when the core guys we have produce, we do very well. I think Robbie [Rogers] was very active, Eddie [Gaven] scored a goal, Manu [Ekpo] was active also as was Chad [Marshall]," said Crew head coach Robert Warzycha. "Renteria changed the game when he came on and we have a few more who are injured and when they come back we are going to be a very good team."
  • The Crew did not manage a shot on goal in the opening 45 minutes against Portland, but still came through with their second 1-0 victory in the last four games.
  • "In the second half the game opened up a little, we switched the formation and started getting a little more crosses in and created more chances and obviously we got rewarded with a good goal," Warzycha said.
  • Goalkeeper William Hesmer missed a league game for the first time since 2009, failing a prematch fitness test for a strained left quadriceps muscle.
  • "I think he did well," Warzycha said of deputy Andy Gruenebaum. "I think he was kicking the ball more in the first half when we wanted him to throw the ball to the defenders. In the second half he was much better."
  • Gruenebaum played in a league game for the first time since Aug. 30, 2009, though he started both games in the MLS Cup Playoffs for the Crew last year.
  • "Obviously to get those games, those are competitive matches, and to play in those environments, it definitely helps, Gruenebaum said. "Having that under my belt I think calmed me down as well, if called upon I'm just kind of ready."
  • On Tuesday, the Crew lost 3-0 to Newcastle United of the English Premier League in a friendly at Crew Stadium. Shola Amoebi (9), Fabricio Colocinni (53) and Haris Vukcic (90+) scored for Newcastle.
  • Here's the Crew team: Andy Gruenebaum, Sebastian Miranda (Korey Veeder 46), Chad Marshall (Julius James 46), Eric Gehrig (Ben Sippola 5 /Mehdi Abeid 85), Shaun Francis (Josh Gardner 46), Emmanuel Ekpo (Robbie Rogers 46), Kevin Burns (Santiago Prim 75), Cole Grossman (Dejan Rusmir 60), Bernardo Anor (Eddie Gaven 46 / Aaron Horton 85), Tommy Heinemann (Justin Meram 46), Emilio Renteria (Chris Konopka, 45).

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