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jane sexton

05 May 4:24 pm

The Salt Lake Tribune's RSL beat writer Chris Kamrani made his TV debut last night, joining ABC 4’s Real Sports Live. The RSL writer gave some interesting and keen insight into RSL’s dramatic 3-2 win over Chicago. Kamrani also shared his take on how RSL should respond when its likely World Cup bound players, Alvaro Saborio, Kyle Beckerman and Nick Rimando, head off to Brazil. Check out the segment above.

24 April 5:52 pm

Saturday’s matchup between Real Salt Lake and Vancouver Whitecaps FC will likely feature a clash of the Morales’. RSL’s own Javier Morales will go up against Vancouver’s new addition, 28-year-old Pedro Morales. Acquired in the offseason, Pedro Morales spent the last two seasons with Spain’s La Liga side Malaga CF, starting 13 of his 22 appearances and notching four goals for the Spanish club.

Javier and Pedro have a lot more in common than just their last names. The two both hail from neighboring countries in South America – Javier from Argentina and Pedro from Chile. But don’t let their proximity fool you; Argentina and Chile aren’t known to have the best relations which include a deep futbol rivalry between the nations. On the pitch, both Javier and Pedro play a similar role for their respective clubs, both serve as the attacking playmaker on the field – positions associated with the famed number 10.

Javier has been with RSL for his entire MLS career and is now in his eighth season with the Claret-and-Cobalt, so comparing the two overall is a bit premature, but both Morales’ stats in 2014 seem to show how similar the two players might really be.

Javier has started six of RSL’s first seven matches for a total of 527 minutes of playing time. The Argentine has notched two assists and recorded a total of seven shots with two shots on goal. Pedro has similarly been an influence for Vancouver, scoring one goal and notching two assists in seven appearances – five of which were starts – in 472 minutes played. The Chilean seems to pull the trigger more often though, registering a total of 19 shots with eight on goal.

Here are some comparable stats between the two:

STATS
Javier Morales (RSL) 527 min.
Pedro Morales (VAN) 472 min.
Chances created (incl. assists)
15
16
Chances created from open play
12
14
Chances created from set play
3
2
Passing Accuracy
79.02
79.23
Passing accuracy in opp. half
76.69
75.82
Passing accuracy in final third
66.43
65.15
Passes into final third
60
75
Successful crosses/corners
8
12

As you can see from the above table, the two playmakers have similar starts to the 2014 season. Passing accuracy between the two is almost even across the board. Only one overall chance created stands between the two with Pedro edging out the RSL veteran with two more chances created from open play. The biggest difference between the two is the number of passes into the final third, with Pedro recording 15 more than Javier.  

Saturday’s matchup looks to be an entertaining one with both Morales’ playing key roles and wielding their influence on their respective clubs. Only time will tell which Morales comes out on top.

22 April 2:47 pm

Real Salt Lake defender Nat Borchers joined Bill Riley for his ABC 4 postgame interview after RSL’s 1-0 win over Portland Timbers. Borchers gives his take on RSL’s dominance over the Timbers and outlines what the Claret-and-Cobalt have to look out for in Saturday’s clash with Vancouver Whitecaps FC. Check out the quick interview below.

21 April 11:54 am

The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team lost 2-0 in the 2014 Dallas Cup Final to Argentine side River Plate at the Cotton Bowl on Sunday. The two sides had met previously in their opening match of the tournament, which saw a different outcome with the Americans coming out on top 3-2.

River Plate’s Lucas Boye proved unstoppable, as he scored both goals – one in each half – for the Argentine side. The U.S. looked to be out of gas after having played five games in seven days. A match recap can be found here.

The U.S. U-20’s went undefeated up until the Final, defeating River Plate 3-2, shutting out German side Eintracht Frankfurt 3-0, beating Mexican club Tigres UANL 1-0 and defeating Brazilian club Fluminense 3-2 in the semifinals.

Two RSL players, midfielder Jordan Allen and forward Benji Lopez, featured heavily for the Americans throughout the tournament. Allen notched two assists and earned the game-winning penalty in the semifinal match against Fluminense. Lopez recorded one goal, notching the first in the Americans’ 3-0 win over Eintracht Frankfurt.

Both Allen and Lopez will return to Salt Lake City today.

21 April 11:03 am

The Real Salt Lake-Arizona Academy lost the Generation adidas Cup Final in heartbreaking fashion on Sunday, falling 1-1 (3-2) in a penalty kick shootout.

RSL-Arizona Academy star Sebastian Saucedo scored the opening goal in the match, a long distance free kick that ended up skipping into the back of the net in the 26th minute. Stoke City managed to equalize in the second half which ended up sending the match to penalty kicks after the sides remained knotted 1-1 after regulation.

Stoke City GK Tommy Dyche made two penalty stops and RSL hit the post twice to hand the Championship to the English side. You can read a full match recap here.

The RSL-AZ Academy team put in a dominant performance to reach Sunday’s Final, securing four wins throughout the tournament to advance to the Championship match. The RSL-Arizona Academy defeated Toronto FC 2-1, beat Stoke City 2-2 (4-2) in another dramatic penalty kick shootout, dismantled LA Galaxy 6-1 and then shutout FC Dallas 3-0 in the semifinals.

RSL’s Saucedo was awarded the tournament’s MVP award and Golden Boot for his astounding performance throughout the entire tournament.

16 April 5:10 pm

Meetings between Real Salt Lake and Portland Timbers have never lacked for excitement, with the two teams producing open-ended, high-scoring matches ever since the Timbers joined MLS in 2011. The meetings went up a notch last year, with then-rookie Portland Head Coach Caleb Porter bringing an RSL-like possession style to the Timbers.

Real Salt Lake has had great success against the Cascadia side, posting a 7-1-3 all-time record against the Timbers across all competitions, with RSL’s sole loss coming in the teams’ first-ever encounter in April 2011. RSL and Portland had a couple of high-stakes matchups last year, meeting in the U.S. Open Cup Semifinal on Aug. 7, with the Claret-and-Cobalt pulling off a 2-1 victory to advance to the USOC Final. RSL and the Timbers then went on to meet in the 2013 Western Conference Final series, with RSL defeating Portland 4-2 in the first leg and earning a 1-0 win in the second leg on the road to advance to MLS Cup 2013. 

The team truly is the star when it comes to Real Salt Lake’s success against Portland, as nine different RSL players scored against the Timbers in 2013 alone, and 10 current Claret-and-Cobalt players have scored against Portland in their career. Not surprisingly, RSL’s most prolific scorer against Portland is forward Alvaro Saborio, who has seven goals and one assist in seven games against the Oregon side. RSL maestro Javier Morales has also been excellent against Portland, posting four goals and five assists in 10 meetings against the Timbers. And it’s not just all about the goals – seven different RSL players had assists against Portland in 2013, and eight current RSL players have assists against Portland all-time.

Let’s hope RSL can continue its unbeaten streak on Saturday and get even more Claret-and-Cobalt players on the scoreboard.

Here’s a full breakdown of current RSL players with goals and/or assists against the Timbers:

Kyle Beckerman: 1 goal, 4 assists – 9 games
Nat Borchers: 1 goal – 11 games
Robbie Findley: 2 goals, 1 assist – 6 games
Luis Gil: 1 goal, 2 assists – 9 games
Ned Grabavoy: 1 goal – 10 games
Cole Grossman: 1 goal – 1 game
Javier Morales: 4 goals, 5 assists – 10 games
Joao Plata: 1 goal, 3 assists with RSL, 1 assist with Toronto FC – 6 games
Alvaro Saborio: 7 goals, 1 assist – 7 games
Devon Sandoval: 1 goal – 2 games
Chris Schuler: 1 goal – 4 games
Chris Wingert: 1 assist – 10 games

11 April 1:17 pm

Real Salt Lake will look to extend its unbeaten start to the season on Saturday, when it will take on Philadelphia Union at 2:00 p.m. MT on ABC 4.

Here are a few storylines to watch ahead of Saturday’s contest:

Real Salt Lake undefeated against Philadelphia Union

Real Salt Lake and Philadelphia Union have met a total of six times in Major League Soccer history, with the Claret-and-Cobalt never losing to its Eastern Conference foe. RSL has a 2-0-4 record against the Union, with the two sides tying their last two league meetings. Although RSL is undefeated against the Union, the Claret-and-Cobalt have yet to win at PPL Park, tying every match played there. Both of Real Salt Lake’s wins over Philly came at home, with RSL defeating Philadelphia 3-0 in the club’s first ever meeting on May 8, 2010 at Rio Tinto Stadium and claiming a 2-1 win on Sept. 3, 2011 at the RioT.

Attinella likely to fill in for Rimando for second-straight match

With RSL veteran goalkeeper Nick Rimando still recovering from a knee injury, backup ‘keeper Jeff Attinella will likely start on Saturday in his absence. The Florida native started against Sporting Kansas City last weekend in his first appearance for the Claret-and-Cobalt in 2014, turning in a stellar, eight save performance to keep the shutout and earn a 0-0 draw. The scoreless draw marked Attinella’s second MLS career clean sheet. The 25-year-old made a total of five appearances in 2013, posting a 1-2-1 record and earning one shutout. Rimando missed RSL’s last match against Philadelphia while with the U.S. national team for CONCACAF Gold Cup duty – Josh Saunders started in his place.

The goalkeeper connection – Attinella and MacMath go way back

The relationship between Attinella and Philadelphia goalkeeper Zac MacMath goes way back, with the pair first meeting each other during their days at Tampa-area youth club Clearwater Chargers. Attinella and MacMath faced off against each other several times while in high school, with Attinella – then a senior – usually leading Countryside High over MacMath – who was only a freshman – and St. Petersburg HS. Should Attinella play on Saturday, it would mark the first time the Florida-area natives would face off against each other as pros.

Real Salt Lake looks to remain undefeated in 2014

Real Salt Lake enters Saturday’s match undefeated through its first five MLS regular season matches. RSL boasts a 2-0-3 record for a total of nine points, placing the Claret-and-Cobalt second in the Western Conference – four points behind MLS leaders FC Dallas. RSL is just one of two unbeaten teams in MLS, with Dallas – which hosts Seattle on Saturday – currently the only other squad without a loss. Three of RSL’s first five matches have been on the road, with the Claret-and-Cobalt earning a win and two draws as the visiting side. The Claret-and-Cobalt has a win and a draw at home – defeating Toronto FC 3-0 on March 29 and tying LA Galaxy 1-1 in its home opener on March 22.

02 April 10:50 am

SANDY, Utah – It was announced yesterday that three RSL-Arizona Academy players, DF Justen Glad, GK Christian Herrera and MF Sebastian Saucedo, have been named to the U.S. Under-18 Men’s National Team roster for a 10-day training camp. The training camp will be held at the U.S. Soccer National Training Center in Carson, Calif., from April 4-13.

The U.S. will play two friendlies while in the 10-day camp, facing off against the Canada’s U-18 National Team on April 8 and then Mexico’s U-18 squad on April 12. This will be the first camp since the U.S. U-18 Men’s National Team participated in the Copa del Atlantico in the Canary Islands in February. Both Herrera and Saucedo were a part of the U.S. squad that competed in the international tournament.

Glad, Herrera and Saucedo have guided the RSL-Arizona U-16 Academy team to the top of the U-15/16 Western Conference with a 16-2-2 record, qualifying them for the Academy playoffs. The RSL-Arizona U-16 Academy team is reigning U.S. Soccer Developmental Academy U-16 champions.

After the April camp, the U-18s will next assemble in May for the Lisbon International Tournament in Lisbon, Portugal.

14 March 4:13 pm

Real Salt Lake continues it California road trip on Saturday night, taking on Western Conference foe San Jose Earthquakes at 8:30 p.m. MT on ABC 4 at Buck Shaw Stadium.

Saturday’s match is full of interesting storylines. Here are a few to watch out for:

RSL Head Coach Jeff Cassar looks for consistency after win in debut

Newly appointed Head Coach Jeff Cassar had a great first game in charge of the Claret-and-Cobalt, shutting out LA Galaxy 1-0 at StubHub Center in the 2014 season opener. With his first win under his belt, Cassar will look for consistency from his squad as RSL faces another tough road match in San Jose. With a few starting players suffering from injuries, it will be interesting see how the team responds and whether or not it can pull out a result against a very physical and challenging San Jose side.

RSL looks to snap San Jose’s 20-game home unbeaten streak

Real Salt Lake and San Jose Earthquakes last met at Buck Shaw Stadium on March 3, 2013, with RSL beating the Bay Area side 2-0. That match marked the last defeat the Quakes suffered at home, with the “Goonies” going on a 20-game home unbeaten streak across all competitions since. RSL players and coaches didn’t seem to know San Jose’s last home defeat came at their expense but they did remark about how difficult it is to play at Buck Shaw Stadium. The atmosphere in Santa Clara is sure to be heightened on Saturday, as it is the Quakes’ 2014 MLS season opener. Hopefully, RSL can pull off a repeat of last year and keep this storyline alive.

U.S. Men’s National Team players will face off against each other

A few Real Salt Lake and San Jose Earthquakes players are more familiar with each other than most, as both squads have players that are regular members of the U.S Men’s National Team. RSL U.S. internationals, midfielder Kyle Beckerman and goalkeeper Nick Rimando, have played alongside San Jose forward Chris Wondolowski and defender Clarence Goodson for the Stars-and-Stripes frequently. Most recently, they were all included in the national team’s annual January camp a few months back, along with RSL midfielder Luis Gil, who was in his first senior camp.

Having consistently played alongside your opposition might prove helpful this Saturday with the U.S. internationals intimately knowing each other’s strengths and weaknesses. It will be interesting to see which U.S. duo comes out on top.

Will San Jose’s CCL result affect its starting lineup vs. RSL?

San Jose was able to get a 1-1 draw against Toluca in the first leg of its CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinal series on Tuesday. With the positive result, Quakes’ Head Coach Mark Watson could give his starters a bit of a break on Saturday with his focus on the team’s second leg next Wednesday in Toluca.

Kyle Beckerman and Nick Rimando continue climbing up the record books

Real Salt Lake stalwarts Kyle Beckerman and Nick Rimando continue their climb up the MLS record books this season, with both players set to achieve more career milestones this year.

RSL’s captain, Beckerman will crack the top-10 in MLS history in games played this season. Currently on 326 games played, he needs 16 appearances to become fifth in league history in appearances, and he should set himself up for a run at the top-three in 2015. He’ll also continue his rise up the games started list. Beckerman tied Tyrone Marshall for eighth all-time in MLS history with his start against LA Galaxy last weekend. He’ll likely end 2014 in fifth in this category, as well. Look for Becks to crack the top-five in MLS history in career minutes played this season, too.

Rimando is slightly ahead of Beckerman in the aforementioned categories. Currently in fourth in league history with 347 games played, Rimando should pass Jeff Cunningham (365) for third-all time and get within touching distance of Steve Ralston (378) for second. Rimando could become the all-time leader in games played early in the 2016 season, when he could conceivably catch current leader Kevin Hartman (416). Rimando should pass Ralston for second all-time in both games started and minutes played this season.

Of course, the biggest record in play for any RSL player this year is the all-time shutout mark. Rimando is second in MLS history with 109 clean sheets, just three behind Hartman for the all-time record. Here’s hoping that deficit will be two after this weekend.