Portland's fans unveiled quite the tifo for Tuesday night's U.S.-Belize Gold Cup match, unfurling several huge banners and a green, "Cascadia" Uncle Sam just prior to the start of the Stars-and-Stripes' 6-1 Group C win at Jeld-Wen Field.
You know by now that the U.S. is coming to Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday for a Group C doubleheader. RSL's Kyle Beckerman, Tony Beltran, Nick Rimando and the rest of Jurgen Klinsmann's side will take on Cuba at 1:00 p.m. MT, with Claret-and-Cobalt forward Alvaro Saborio and Costa Rica playing Belize immediately afterwards at 4:00 p.m. The game will be a great chance - the second one this summer, of course - for Salt Lake fans to put a unique stamp on a national team match. Portland did it last night - let's get after it in our own way on Saturday.
Real Salt Lake midfielder Kyle Beckerman dropped an absolute dime on the U.S.'s second goal in Tuesday's Gold Cup Group C opener against Belize, curling a beauty of a cross into San Jose forward Chris Wondolowski for a headed goal in Portland.
Check out Kyle's gorgeous cross above. Some Twitter love for the Claret-and-Cobalt captain is below:
Great ball from Beckerman. Wondo will get headlines but both goals had great service.
— Jared DuBois (@Jrodius) July 10, 2013
Dude, that cross from Beckerman was sick.
— Daniel Haiek (@Dan_Haiek) July 10, 2013
What a ball by Kyle Beckerman! #USMNT
— Ben Jata (@Ben_Jata) July 10, 2013
— randalserr (@randalserr) July 10, 2013
Lovely @KyleBeckerman Just lovely.
— Kevin Smith (@kjsSlc) July 10, 2013
— Jordan Santos (@jordansantos13) July 10, 2013
The latest "Soccer Smarts with Professor Leo" dropped earlier on Tuesday. Give it a watch and learn all you need to know about the CONCACAF Gold Cup, which will come to Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday, when the U.S. takes on Cuba at 1:30 p.m. and Costa Rica faces off against Belize at 4:00 p.m. in a Group C doubleheader at the Sandy facility.
RSL Captain Kyle Beckerman (U.S.), defender Tony Beltran (U.S.), goalkeeper Nick Rimando (U.S.) and forward Alvaro Saborio (Costa Rica) will all be available for selection on Saturday. Click here to get your tickets.
Currently with the U.S. national team on Gold Cup duty, Real Salt Lake captain Kyle Beckerman and goalkeeper Nick Rimando did an interview with Fox Soccer on Sunday. Part of that interview? Take 20 seconds to draw a picture of the other.
Kyle's drawing of Nick is on the left, while Nick's picture of Kyle is on the right. Check the artwork out on U.S. Soccer's Instagram and above.
We're at just about the halfway mark of the 2013 season and midseason awards columns are starting to roll out.
ESPN FC's Jeff Carlisle's gave RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando some love in his awards column on Monday morning, naming the veteran 'keeper his MLS Goalkeeper of the Year. Nice call, Jeff: Amongst goalkeepers with at least 10 starts, Rimando leads the league in save percentage, wins and goals against average and is near the top in shutouts and saves.
Of course, Rimando brings much more than solid numbers to RSL. As Carlisle points out:
"The veteran netminder's contribution transcends mere numbers. RSL's rebuilding project saw the departure of former Defender of the Year Jamison Olave while injuries to Kwame Watson-Siriboe and Chris Schuler have also prevented RSL from fielding anything remotely resembling a consistent backline. All of which points to Rimando's experience and organization in keeping RSL among the league's defensive leaders."
Currently with the U.S. national team, Rimando will return to RSL following the conclusion of the CONCACAF Gold Cup at the end of July. He'll likely be in action at Rio Tinto Stadium with the U.S. squad this Saturday, when the Americans will take on Cuba at 1:30 p.m. in the first match of a Gold Cup doubleheader that will see RSL forward Alvaro Saborio and Costa Rica take on Belize at the RioT at 4:00 p.m. Get your tickets to the Gold Cup doubleheader here.
Real Salt Lake won again on Saturday, getting a first half goal from midfielder Yordany Alvarez to beat Toronto FC 1-0 at BMO Field.
Here are some interesting numbers from the match:
The number one had plenty of significance for RSL on Saturday. The win was RSL’s first in 11 tries in Canada across all competitions; Alvarez’s goal was his first in MLS play for the Claret-and-Cobalt and the team’s first MLS goal at BMO Field; defender Aaron Maund turned in a solid performance in his first MLS start for RSL; and the victory keeps RSL in first-place in both the Supporters’ Shield and Western Conference races.
Saturday’s win was RSL’s seventh-straight across all competitions. The Claret-and-Cobalt is 9-0-1 in its last 10 matches across all comps and 10-1-1 in its last 12 games in all competitions since the start of May. RSL has outscored its opponents 31-11 since the start of May, good for a +20 goal differential.
This weekend’s victory was RSL’s 99th in MLS regular season play. The Claret-and-Cobalt is now 99-103-68 in regular season action. The Utah side is 68-43-35 in regular season action since the start of its MLS Cup winning season of 2009.
Saturday’s shutout was the 105th of RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando’s career. Rimando – who has six league shutouts this year – needs seven more shutouts to pull even with Kevin Hartman’s 112 for the all-time MLS clean-sheet lead.
Saturday’s clean-sheet was the Claret-and-Cobalt’s third-consecutive in all competitions. RSL hasn’t given up a goal in 372 minutes, last conceding in the 18th minute of its 120-minute 5-2 U.S. Open Cup fourth-round win over the Charleston Battery on June 12.
By scoring on Saturday, Alvarez became the 11th RSL player to score in MLS play this year, surpassing the 10 players that scored for the Claret-and-Cobalt in league action in 2012. Counting Open Cup play, RSL has had 13 players score goals this season.
Maund became the 24th RSL player to start a league game this year on Saturday. Considering the Claret-and-Cobalt’s first-place standing, that’s a remarkable show of depth. RSL started 23 different players in league action in all of last season.
Real Salt Lake returns to MLS action on Saturday, when it will take on Toronto FC at BMO Field. Saturday's match will kickoff at 11:00 a.m., but - due to FCC regulations - will be shown on CW30 on a tape delay, with the television broadcast kicking off at 12:00 p.m.
Here are a few interesting storylines to watch ahead of Saturday's match:
On the road again
Saturday's game will be RSL's first road contest since its 4-1 win at Chivas USA on May 19. The Claret-and-Cobalt just finished a highly succesful seven-game home stand with Wednesday night's 3-0 US Open Cup Quarterfinal win over the NASL's Carolina RailHawks. RSL was dominant during its extended run in Sandy, posting a 6-0-1 record in MLS and USOC play. The Utah side has been good on the road this year, earning a solid away mark of 3-4-1 and winning two of its last three games away from the friendly confines of Rio Tinto Stadium.
The Claret-and-Cobalt has always struggled in Canada, going winless in its 10 matches north of the border. RSL is 0-1-1 in the Great White North this season, tying Vancouver Whitecaps FC 1-1 at BC Place on April 13 and losing a 3-2 heartbreaker at the Montreal Impact on May 11. RSL is 0-3-2 in MLS play at Toronto FC and has never scored a goal in regular season play at BMO Field.
Saturday's match is RSL's third in a stretch of four games in 12 days. Given the short turnaround and the long trip the team took following Wednesday's Open Cup victory - not to mention the absences of Alvaro Saborio and Luis Gil due to international duty - it wouldn't be a stretch to see a bit of a different lineup take the field on Saturday. We'll see what Head Coach Jason Kreis rolls out at BMO Field, but don't be surprised if we see a few new faces in the First XI.
Bye, bye Beckerman, Beltran and Rimando
RSL Captain Kyle Beckerman, defender Tony Beltran and goalkeeper Nick Rimando will all leave RSL for U.S. national team Gold Cup duty immediately following Saturday's game. The trio could be gone a while; the U.S. is expected to make a deep run in the Gold Cup, which doesn't end until July 28.
It just wasn't meant to be for Luis Gil and the U.S. U-20's against Ghana on Thursday.
Gil put in a yeoman's effort, but it wasn't enough as the U.S. defense was overrun by the Ghanaian attack in a 4-1 loss to the Black Satellites. The loss ended the FIFA U-20 World Cup for the Americans, who will leave Turkey after a pair of 4-1 losses to Spain and Ghana and a 1-1 draw against France.
Gil will now make the long journey back to Real Salt Lake. He is expected to be available for Wednesday's 8:00 p.m. kick against the Philadelphia Union at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Real Salt Lake advanced to the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Semifinal on Wednesday night, derailing the Carolina RailHawks 3-0 in the USOC Quarters at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Here are a few interesting numbers from the match:
Wednesday’s victory was the 100th in all competitions of RSL Head Coach Jason Kreis’s career. The Claret-and-Cobalt boss is now 83-65-50 in MLS regular season play, 4-5-5 in the MLS Cup Playoffs, 8-4-4 in the CONCACAF Champions League and 5-5-1 in the U.S. Open Cup.
Real Salt Lake fullbacks Tony Beltran and Chris Wingert both scored on Wednesday night, with Beltran putting the Claret-and-Cobalt on top late in the first half before Wingert doubled RSL’s advantage early in the second 45. Despite combining for over 30,000 minutes in the RSL careers, Wingert and Beltran only have two professional goals each. Wingert has one MLS goal and one Open Cup goal while Beltran has two Open Cup strikes.
Wednesday’s win was RSL’s sixth-consecutive victory, breaking the club record five-game winning streaks accomplished in 2010 and 2011. RSL has scored multiple goals in all six wins in the streak, outscoring its opponents by a 19-5 margin. The Claret-and-Cobalt is on an eight-game unbeaten run across all comps, last losing on May 11 at Montreal.
RSL forward Alvaro Saborio scored in the 85th minute on Wednesday night. The tally was his first-ever goal in Open Cup play and his 58th in 105 games across all competitions. RSL is now 32-5-7 in games in which Saborio scores.
Wednesday’s crowd of 10,287 was the fifth-highest attended game in Open Cup Quarterfinal history and the largest crowd of Wednesday’s four games. During the eight games at Rio Tinto Stadium between May 25 and June 26, nearly 136,000 fans passed through the turnstiles for RSL games in MLS (3-0-1, 75,250 fans), Open Cup (3-0-0, 39,500); and U.S. Men’s National Team (1-0-0, 20,250).
Real Salt Lake midfielder Luis Gil and the U.S. Under-20 national team have it all to play for on Thursday.
The U-20's take on Ghana in the FIFA U-20 World Cup Group A finale at 11:00 a.m. on ESPNU and WatchESPN. A win would give the U.S. four points in the Group Stage, making them a virtual lock to qualify for the Knockout Stage. A tie and things become a bit muddied, with the U.S. - which would have only two points - needing major help from teams in Group E and Group F to qualify for the Knockout Stage as one of four third-place teams. The U.S. would be eliminated from the tournament with a loss. If you're so inclined, U.S. Soccer has a slightly more detailed breakdown here.
Gil has played every minute of the U-20 World Cup so far, scoring a goal in the U.S.'s 4-1 loss against Spain last Friday and setting up the U.S.'s strike in its 1-1 draw against France on Monday.