Four Real Salt Lake Academy products were named last week to a 36-player roster for the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team’s training camp in Lakewood Ranch, Fla. RSL FW Benji Lopez and DF Jordan Allen, as well as RSL-AZ Academy grad and University of Louisville MF Andrew Brody and current RSL-AZ U-18 player and Stanford University commit MF Corey Baird will all participate in the team’s domestic training camp, which will run from Jan. 3-12.
Lopez, the fourth player to graduate from the RSL-Arizona Academy to the first-team, joined Real Salt Lake on July 17, 2013. The 18-year-old featured for the Real Salt Lake Reserves four times this year, scoring one goal in the Reserves’ 3-2 win over Vancouver Whitecaps FC Reserves on July 16. Lopez began his stint in Casa Grande in the fall of 2011, excelling in the youth setup and helping lead RSL-AZ to strong finishes in both the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons.
Allen signed a Homegrown contract with RSL on Dec. 31, 2013, following the completion of a successful freshman season at the University of Virginia. Allen, 18, played at the Real Salt Lake-Arizona Academy from August 2011-December 2012. The Rochester, N.Y. native was named the U.S. Soccer Developmental Academy Player of the Year, USSDA Western Conference Player of the Year and earned a spot on the USSDA Starting XI Team of the Year for the 2011-2012 season. This past fall, Allen started all 24 of UVA’s matches, helping lead the Cavaliers to the 2013 NCAA College Cup Semifinal. A third-team All-ACC selection, an All-ACC Freshman Team selection and a second-team NSCAA All-South Atlantic Region Team pick, Allen had three goals and a team-high five assists for UVA from his spot in the midfield.
A University of Louisville freshman, Brody was a fixture for the Cardinals last season, playing and starting all 20 games and notching three goals and eight assists. The midfielder helped Louisville advance to the quarterfinal round of the 2013 NCAA College Cup. Brody played for the RSL-Arizona Academy team in 2012 and 2013, participated in last year’s RSL preseason camp and featured three times in 2013 for the Real Salt Lake Reserves.
Currently with the RSL-AZ U-18’s, Baird had been a fixture with the U.S. Under-18 Men’s National Team prior to this U-20 call up. Baird featured in all three matches for the U-18 national team in an international tournament in France last October. Baird will begin his college career next fall at Stanford.
Three Real Salt Lake-Arizona Academy players were among the 24 players called last week into the U.S. Under-18 Men’s National Team by head coach Javier Perez. RSL-AZ DF Justen Glad, M/F Sebastian Saucedo and GK Christian Herrera were all called up to Perez’s squad, which will train in Lakewood Ranch, Fla. from Jan. 4-11 ahead of next month’s Copa del Atlantico international tournament in the Canary Islands.
The Claret-and-Cobalt’s DF Justen Glad, M/F Sebastian Saucedo and GK Christian Herrera were among twenty-one out of the twenty-four players who currently play for a U.S. Soccer Development Academy. Nine MLS Academies are represented with Real Salt Lake receiving the most call-ups.
Glad, Saucedo and Herrera have guided the RSL U-16 team to a 8-1-1 start through ten league matches. Saucedo leads the team in scoring with eight goals while Herrera has earned seven clean sheets. Glad anchors a backline that has yet to concede a goal at home and has only surrendered four goals all season.
In two days Real Salt Lake will play its second MLS Cup Final in the club’s nine-season history. Multiple RSL players have lifted the Cup before, both with Claret-and-Cobalt in 2009 and with other teams through the years.
Below is a list of all the Claret-and-Cobalt players that have previously won MLS Cup titles:
Josh Saunders – The currently sidelined goalkeeper is looking to win his fourth MLS Cup title this Saturday. Saunders previously won MLS Cup 2005, 2011 and 2012 with LA Galaxy.
Nick Rimando – The RSL veteran goalkeeper has won two MLS Cup titles – MLS Cup 2004 with D.C. United and MLS Cup 2009 with Real Salt Lake
Ned Grabavoy – RSL’s dynamic midfielder has lifted the MLS Cup trophy twice before – first with LA Galaxy in 2005 and then in 2009 with Real Salt Lake
Kyle Beckerman, Nat Borchers, Tony Beltran, Chris Wingert, Javier Morales and Robbie Findley all won MLS Cup 2009 with Real Salt Lake
The experience and leadership that comes with Real Salt Lake’s core group of veterans will surely come into play on Saturday, when a re-tooled and – in places – young squad looks to win the club’s second title at Sporting Kansas City.
For RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando and midfielder Khari Stephenson, Saturday’s MLS Cup at Kansas City will be a bit of a trip down memory lane. The Claret-and-Cobalt teammates both played the last time Kansas City advanced to MLS Cup, with Rimando manning the net for D.C. United and Stephenson starting and playing 45 minutes for the Wizards in a 3-2 D.C. victory at the Home Depot Center.
Stephenson’s Wizards took the lead in the sixth minute with a goal from defender Jose Burciaga Jr., but D.C. responded with three straight goals, including an own goal, scored in a seven minute span. D.C. forward Alecko Eskandarian scored the first two goals in the 19th and 23rd minutes, before Kansas City defender Alex Zotinca put one into his own net in the 26th minute. The score line remained the same until the 58th minute, when D.C. midfielder Dema Kovalenko received the first red card ever given in a MLS Cup match for blocking a shot with his arm on the goal line. Kansas City forward Josh Wolff converted from the penalty spot to pull the Wizards within a goal, but it wasn’t enough to stop D.C., which beat the Wizards 3-2 to lift the club’s fourth MLS Cup.
Let’s hope that Kansas City goes home disappointed again on Saturday. RSL and Sporting kick off at 2 p.m. MT at Sporting Park. The match will be broadcast on ESPN, UniMas and ESPN 700 AM.
Starting with a highly physical preseason game in 2011 that was called off because of a brawl, Real Salt Lake and Sporting Kansas City matchups have always tended to be testy affairs. The only game this year between the sides was no exception, with the teams combining for one red card, seven yellow cards and 26 fouls in a heartbreaking 2-1 RSL defeat at Rio Tinto Stadium on July 20.
RSL took the lead in the 56th minute of that match, when Sporting KC goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen mishandled a free kick taken by Claret-and-Cobalt maestro Javier Morales, allowing forward Robbie Findley to head a close-range effort into the back of the net. Ten minutes later, RSL defender Chris WIngert was shown a controversial second yellow card and ejected after pulling down Sporting KC’s Soony Saad on the right wing. Sporting Kansas City immediately took advantage, with Saad finding the equalizer off of the ensuing free kick. Sporting scored the game-winner in the 97th minute, as Ike Opara headed home a Graham Zusi corner seconds before the final whistle.
Sporting Kansas City’s win snapped Real Salt Lake’s 11-game unbeaten streak across all competitions. RSL was 9-0-2 during its unbeaten run from May 19-July 13, outscoring its competition 30-9 in that stretch.
The match was just as physical and temperamental as previous encounters, as Real Salt Lake picked up four yellow cards – two given to Chris Wingert and one each to Morales and midfielder Luis Gil. Sporting KC received three yellow cards of their own - one each for Oriol Rosell, Aurelien Collin and Lawrence Olum.
Both sides were without important players in the first meeting, with RSL missing four players – Captain Kyle Beckerman, defender Tony Beltran, goalkeeper Nick Rimando and forward Alvaro Saborio – due to international duty and Sporting KC without MLS Best XI defender Matt Besler.
MLS Cup 2013 will surely be another highly physical and emotional affair between the two clubs on Saturday, with Real Salt Lake looking to achieve the best form of revenge – winning MLS Cup 2013 on Sporting Kansas City’s home soil.
Real Salt Lake advanced to MLS Cup 2013 on Sunday night, defeating Portland Timbers 1-0 (5-2 on aggregate).
Here are some interesting numbers from the match:
With Real Salt Lake’s win on Sunday night, the Claret-and-Cobalt has advanced to MLS Cup twice in its nine-season history. Real Salt Lake will face Sporting Kansas City at Sporting Park in MLS Cup 2013 on Dec. 7. The last time RSL advanced to MLS Cup was in 2009 where the Claret-and-Cobalt defeated LA Galaxy 5-4 on penalty kicks at Qwest Field in Seattle.
Real Salt Lake handed Portland Timbers four losses in six games across all competitions this calendar year. In the 35 games against everyone else, Portland only suffered four losses.
Robbie Findley scored his sixth-career MLS Cup Playoff goal in Sunday’s match against Portland. The RSL FW has scored two goals in the postseason both against portland– one scored in the 41st minute in the Western Conference Championship first leg 4-2 win and the lone goal in RSL’s second leg 1-0 win over Portland on Sunday. With six playoff goals, Robbie Findley is Real Salt Lake’s all-time leading goal scorer in the postseason.
Real Salt Lake won the Western Conference Championship series with a total 5-2 aggregate score. In the two-legged series, RSL combine for five goals while Portland was kept to two. The series saw goals from RSL MF Sebastian Velasquez, MF Javier Morales, DF Chris Schuler and FW Robbie Findley.
RSL had a very diverse attack against Portland this year, with nine different players scoring and seven different players assisting in the Utah side’s six matches against the Timbers in 2013. RSL MF Javier Morales leads the way for RSL with three goals, followed by FW Alvaro Saborio and FW Robbie Findley with two goals each, while FW Devon Sandoval, MF Luis Gil, DF Chris Schuler, DF Nat Borchers and MF Cole Grossman all have one tally against the Cascadia club. Captain Kyle Beckerman, Javier Morales and Joao Plata lead the way for RSL with three assists against the Timbers each; Grabavoy, Gil, Findley and Saborio all have one assist against Portland.
With Sunday’s full shifts, Real Salt Lake Captain Kyle Beckerman and GK Nick Rimando have played all 1,710 minutes in RSL’s 18-game playoff history.
Today’s date should stand out in the minds of Real Salt Lake fans as it marks the fourth anniversary of the Claret-and-Cobalt’s momentous 2009 MLS Cup win. On November 22, 2009, Real Salt Lake defeated LA Galaxy 5-4 on penalty kicks in front of 46,011 fans at Qwest Field in Seattle to win the club’s first title.
The game ended deadlocked at 1-1 after extra time, with goals from LA Galaxy forward Mike Magee in the 41st minute and an RSL equalizer in the 64th minute from forward Robbie Findley. The match then advanced to penalty kicks. LA Galaxy goalkeeper Josh Saunders, who now wears Claret-and-Cobalt, made two saves on RSL’s Kyle Beckerman and Andy Williams. LA Galaxy star Landon Donovan sent his kick high over the bar while RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando made two saves on LA’s Jovan Kirovski and Edson Buddle, the latter of which set up RSL’s Robbie Russell to score the game-winning penalty kick.
Sunday’s second leg match against Portland Timbers will provide Real Salt Lake with another opportunity to advance to MLS Cup. Several veterans remain from the 2009 Cup winning team, with Beckerman, Rimando, Findley, Nat Borchers, Javier Morales, Ned Grabavoy, Tony Beltran and injured defender Chris Wingert all a part of the team that lifted the trophy in 2009.
That experience and leadership will definitely come into play as the RSL family heads into one of the most intense environments in MLS on Sunday for the Western Conference Championship second leg – Portland's JELD-WEN Field.
Real Salt Lake dropped the first leg of its Western Conference Semifinal series with the LA Galaxy on Sunday night, losing 1-0 at StubHub Center.
Here are a few interesting numbers from the match:
Real Salt Lake and LA Galaxy have now met in the playoffs three times, posting a 1-2-0 record against the California side in the postseason. Before Sunday’s loss, the Claret-and-Cobalt beat the Galaxy in penalties in MLS Cup 2009 in Seattle and lost 3-1 to LA in the 2011 Western Conference Final in Carson.
With Real Salt Lake’s 1-0 loss to LA Galaxy, the Claret-and-Cobalt must win the series’ decisive second leg on Thursday at Rio Tinto Stadium in order to have a shot at advancing to the Western Conference Final. If the teams are tied on aggregate at the end of regulation in Thursday’s second leg, there will be a pair of 15-minute extra time periods. If the teams remain tied following extra time, the series will be decided by a penalty kick shootout.
Sunday’s match marked the fourth time this season that Real Salt Lake did not start a match in its usual diamond formation. The Claret-and-Cobalt were 3-0-0 in the previous three times they departed from the diamond setup, beating Toronto FC 1-0 at BMO Field on June 29, topping FC Dallas 3-0 at Toyota Stadium on July 13 and beating the Houston Dynamo 1-0 at Rio Tinto Stadium on Aug. 10.
Real Salt Lake now posts a 5-9-1 road at LA Galaxy in all competitions. Before Real Salt Lake’s 4-2 loss to LA Galaxy at StubHub Center on Aug. 17, the Claret-and-Cobalt had won five straight games at the StubHub Center (formerly known as the Home Depot Center). RSL had gone 5-0-0 (2-0-0 against LA; 3-0-0 against Chivas USA) at the Carson facility since the start of the 2012 MLS season.
Real Salt Lake and LA Galaxy have now scored the exact number of goals – 45 – against each other across all MLS competition.
Real Salt Lake has recorded a 5-3-4 record at home against LA Galaxy and will host the defending MLS Cup champions this Thursday at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Ahead of this weekend’s clash between Real Salt Lake and LA Galaxy in the first leg of the Western Conference Semifinals, we look back at the storied history between RSL head coach Jason Kreis and LA head coach Bruce Arena.
Despite their large age-difference, Jason Kreis and Bruce Arena have crossed paths over the past 20 years, starting at the college level.
Kreis attended Duke University, starting in 1991, and regularly faced off against ACC foe the University of Virginia, which was then coached by Bruce Arena. The fierce college soccer rivalry often ended with Bruce Arena and the Cavaliers coming out on top.
Kreis on the Field
Kreis and Arena would meet again, this time in Major League Soccer with Kreis as a player for the Dallas Burn and Real Salt Lake and Arena as a coach for D.C. United and New York Red Bulls. Throughout this player-coach period, the two met 10 times with Kreis notching five goals and recording a 4-6-0 record against Arena-led sides.
Arena called Kreis up to the U.S. national team several teams during his tenure, with the RSL boss earning seven of his 14 career international caps under Arena in 1999 and 2000. Kreis started three of the seven games he appeared in for Arena, scoring his lone international goal and picking up a yellow card in 256 minutes of action under the LA coach/GM.
Jason Kreis became Real Salt Lake’s head coach on May 3, 2007 and in his first game at the helm, faced off against a Bruce Arena-led New York Red Bulls side, with the teams playing to a thrilling 3-3 draw at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
Kreis won his first match as RSL boss against Arena on June 13, 2009 when Real Salt Lake defeated the LA Galaxy 2-0 at the Home Depot Center. The four previous meetings between Kreis and Arena had resulted in ties.
Kreis achieved the ultimate victory over Arena when RSL and LA faced off in MLS Cup 2009, with the Claret-and-Cobalt defeating the Galaxy 5-4 in a penalty shootout after a 1-1 draw at Qwest Field in Seattle.
Arena got a measure of revenge in 2011, defeating Real Salt Lake in that year’s Western Conference Final, on his way to leading the Galaxy to the 2011 MLS Cup title. Arena went on to lead the Galaxy to another MLS Cup title in 2012.
All-time, Kreis is 6-6-4 when coaching against an Arena-led squad.
RSL v. LA Galaxy
Real Salt Lake and LA Galaxy have met a total of 27 times across all competitions with the Claret-and-Cobalt posting a 10-11-6 record against LA. RSL is 10-10-5 against the Galaxy in MLS regular-season play.
Since Bruce Arena became head coach of the Galaxy on Aug. 18, 2008, Kreis and RSL are 6-6-3 against the LA side.
Everyone should have their eyes glued to their TVs this weekend as the MLS regular-season comes to a close with clubs still vying for playoff spots and the Supporters’ Shield. This weekend’s results hold major implications as to whether or not RSL will win the Supporters’ Shield or the Western Conference and who the Claret-and-Cobalt will face in the Western Conference Semifinals.
Real Salt Lake will be bystanders this weekend as the Claret-and-Cobalt finished its regular-season with Wednesday’s 2-1 win over Chivas USA. Wednesday’s win clinched a top-two West seed for RSL, meaning the Claret-and-Cobalt will play away in the first leg of the Western Conference Semifinals on Nov. 2 or Nov. 3 before returning home to Rio Tinto Stadium for the West Semi second leg on Nov. 6 or Nov. 7. Real Salt Lake could still play any of the West playoff teams of Portland, LA Galaxy, Seattle Sounders FC or Colorado Rapids in the West Semifinals.
RSL currently sits in first-place in the Supporters’ Shield race and Western Conference with a total of 56 points, 16 wins and 57 goals scored.
With so much at stake this weekend, here is a list of all the key matches that affect RSL and who you should be rooting for:
Philadelphia Union vs. Sporting Kansas City – 1:00 p.m. MT on NBC Sports Network
The Claret-and-Cobalt will need Sporting Kansas City to lose or draw at PPL Park in order for RSL’s Supporters’ Shield hopes to stay alive. Sporting Kansas City currently sits in second-place in the Eastern Conference with a total of 55 points, one point behind the New York Red Bulls. If Kansas City draws Philadelphia and ends up tied with RSL on points and wins, the Claret-and-Cobalt would place ahead based on the goals for tiebreaker, granted Kansas City doesn’t score 12 goals. The Philadelphia Union is facing a must-win situation in order to keep their postseason aspiration alive. This one’s easy: root for the Union.
Chivas USA vs. Portland Timbers – 8:30 p.m. MT on MLS Live
The Portland Timbers are the only team that can push RSL out of first-place in the Western Conference. A win for the Timbers at the StubHub Center would guarantee Caleb Porter’s squad first-place in the Western Conference and put an end to the Claret-and-Cobalt’s chance at the Supporters’ Shield. Portland currently has a total of 54 points, meaning a draw against Chivas USA would be enough to keep RSL first in the Western Conference. A Chivas USA win or draw might seem unlikely with their current record of 6-19-8, but everyone loves to root for the underdog. Let’s hope the Goats can end the season on a higher note and produce a result at home.
New York Red Bulls vs. Chicago Fire – 3:00 p.m. MT on UniMas
This one won’t impact the Western Conference, but it does hold huge implications in the battle for the Supporters’ Shield. Real Salt Lake sits atop the league table narrowly leading New York by the goals for tiebreaker with 57 goals to New York’s 53. Any result by New York against Chicago will officially end the Claret-and-Cobalt’s run for the Supporters’ Shield. Chicago enters the match desperate for a win in order to keep its own playoff hopes alive. Pull for Mike Magee to keep his scoring form and work some magic at Red Bull Arena.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. Colorado Rapids – 6:00 p.m. MT on MLS Live
This match won’t affect RSL’s standing in the Western Conference but it can affect who RSL will face in the Western Conference Semifinals. Colorado will need a draw or a win in order to officially clinch a playoff berth. If RSL finishes in first-place it will take on the winner of the fourth-place vs. fifth-place knockout game. If RSL finishes in second-place, it will face the third-place team in the West. If Colorado does earn a result at Vancouver, its playoff placement won’t be determined until after the final MLS regular-season game between Seattle and LA. Colorado would need a win and for LA and Seattle to draw in order to clinch third-place which would most likely mean a Rocky Mountain Cup semifinal series, assuming RSL finishes in second-place. A RSL vs. Colorado playoff game would be the first of its kind. Who to root for? Follow your heart.
Seattle Sounders FC vs. LA Galaxy – 7:00 p.m. MT on ESPN
The final match of the MLS regular-season will definitely be an entertaining one with the former MLS champions taking on Western Conference rival Seattle Sounders FC. Seattle is suffering an epic blowout to end its regular-season, losing its last four matches by a combined margin of 12-2. Despite Seattle’s recent run of poor form, they have already clinched a playoff berth. This match will determine whether or not Seattle or LA will avoid the fourth-place vs. fifth-place knockout game. LA and Seattle will want to grab as many points as possible to put as much room between them and the red line. Who to root against? Both.