TUCSON – After taking the day off on Sunday, Real Salt Lake got back to work on Monday, hitting the training fields for another practice session ahead of Wednesday’s Desert Diamond Cup match against FC Tucson.
Monday’s training officially marked the start of the final week of preseason training for the Claret-and-Cobalt, which will return to Utah on Sunday and train in Sandy next week ahead of the March 8 opener at LA. RSL Head Coach Jeff Cassar is looking for a few things from the last week of preseason camp, with full match fitness topping the list.
No RSL player has gone 90 minutes yet in the Desert Diamond Cup, with Cassar playing the starters 60 minutes and making mass substitutions at the hour mark in both of the first two DDC games. Expect that to change in the final two games in Tucson.
“In these last two games we’re looking to get closer to 90 minutes for everybody in each game,” Cassar said. “It’s time to start to gear up towards what our lineup will look like against LA.”
RSL will return to action on Wednesday, when the team will take on USL-Premier Development League side FC Tucson at 6:00 p.m. MT in the final group game of the Desert Diamond Cup. Wednesday’s game will be streamed live here on RealSaltLake.com and MLSsoccer.com.
TUCSON – Real Salt Lake on Friday returned to the training field for the first time since Wednesday’s scoreless draw against New England, putting in a two hour training session ahead of Saturday’s FC Tucson Desert Diamond Cup match against the Colorado Rapids.
Saturday’s match will be streamed live here on RealSaltLake.com, under the “Match Streams” page in Preseason Central. It will be the first stream of the preseason for the Claret-and-Cobalt, which has a 0-1-3 record so far this preseason.
RSL enters Saturday’s match in a four-way tie for second in the DDC standings with one point. Colorado is in sixth – and last – place in the tournament after losing their opener 2-1 against Chicago on Wednesday. RSL will finish Desert Diamond Cup group play next Wednesday, when they’ll take on USL-Premier Development League side FC Tucson at 6:00 p.m. MT.
The Desert Diamond Cup will conclude next Saturday, with the Championship and Consolation matches. The DDC round-robin stage winner will take on Mexican side Chivas de Guadalajara in the tournament final at 6:00 p.m. MT on Saturday, while the second- and third-place and the fourth- and fifth-place MLS teams will face off earlier in the day.
CASA GRANDE, Ariz. – Real Salt Lake won the Generation Adidas Cup Central Region on Monday, with the Claret-and-Cobalt U-17’s defeating the Houston Dynamo U-17’s 4-1 at Grande Sports World in the final match of group play to qualify for the GA Cup’s final stage.
Monday’s win advanced the RSL U-17’s to the final stage of the GA Cup, which will take place in April. The RSL U-17’s will be pitted against two other MLS U-17 teams and a group of international teams in the final stage of the GA Cup.
RSL posted a 4-1-0 record in five GA Cup Central Region group stage matches, finishing atop the group that also featured U-17 squads from the Chicago Fire, Colorado Rapids, FC Dallas, Houston Dynamo and Sporting Kansas City. The Claret-and-Cobalt outscored its opposition 21-7 in the group stage.
RSL got goals from four different players in the win over Houston on Monday. The Claret-and-Cobalt jumped out to an impressive start, with Josh Doughty tapping in a Sebastian Saucedo cross in the 11th minute to give RSL the lead.
RSL doubled their lead in the 50th minute, when Saucedo curled in a low free kick that hit the post and bounced in for his fourth goal in three matches. Doughty notched his fourth assist in three matches when he played to Kris “Haiti” Fourcand in the 72nd-minute. Fourcand then shifted to his right, dribbled into the box and scored RSL’s third goal.
RSL’s backline of: Justen Glad, Aaron Herrera, Miles Stray and Gavino Carranza along with central midfielder Danny Acosta held the Dynamo attack to a few shots and recorded their first shutout in GA Cup play.
Real Salt Lake defender Nat Borchers kept busy over the weekend, stopping by Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday to answer a few questions at RSL's Open House before dropping by the ABC 4 studios on Sunday for an interview with Wesley Ruff on Real Sports Live.
Nat and Wes put a bow on the 2013 RSL season and looked forward to 2014, with Nat discussing new Claret-and-Cobalt boss Jeff Cassar and the team's preseason camp. Check out the video above.
Borchers wasn't the only RSL player on Real Sports Live on Sunday night, as fellow defender Chris Wingert appeared on the show to raise awareness for a great cause. We'll have more on Wingert's appearance later on.
RSL is traveling to Tucson today for the upcoming FC Tucson Desert Diamond Cup. The Claret-and-Cobalt will kickoff the Desert Diamond Cup on Wednesday, taking on the New England Revolution at 6:00 p.m. MT.
You may or may not know that RSL Captain Kyle Beckerman has the record for most fouls committed in MLS history. So it goes when you're a defensive midfielder who's been in the league going on 15 years.
Turns out, most of Beckerman's MLS colleagues didn't know that KB5 holds that record, either. MLSsoccer.com asked quite a few of them about it, with only four - Seattle Head Coach Sigi Schmid, Kansas City's Matt Besler, D.C.'s Bill Hamid and New England's Andrew Farrell - able to correctly identify Captain Kyle.
Two of the league's biggest villains were among the more popular guesses, with SKC's Aurelien Collin and San Jose's Steven Lenhart getting their names dropped a few times.
Our favorite moment from the video? Vancouver Captain Jay DeMerit's "a foul for every dread" comment.
MLSsoccer.com’s Dan Itel wrote up a nice piece on Tuesday on U.S. Men’s National Team Head Coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s comments on RSL midfielder Luis Gil and fellow 20-year-old national teamer, Seattle Sounders FC defender Deandre Yedlin.
Klinsmann had plenty of complimentary things to say about Gil and Yedlin, both of whom participated in the USMNT’s January camp and registered their first senior caps as substitutes in Saturday’s 2-0 friendly win over Korea Republic at StubHub Center.
Klinsmann’s main message? While they’re promising prospects, both Gil and Yedlin still have plenty of work to do to become mainstays with the senior national team.
“I think both youngsters … did well in this first introduction to the senior national team,” Klinsmann said. “That’s why we gave them also their first cap, their first couple of minutes on the field with the so-called older guys. They have a lot of talent, there’s no doubt about it.”
“It’s really important that they stay with their feet on the ground, stay modest,” he continued. “Yes, be proud of that moment, it’s a special moment when you play your first cap, but this is hopefully just the beginning of a very, very good career.”
Klinsmann also pushed for them to take more responsibility with their club teams, a notion Gil discussed with reporters at RSL’s Media Day on Tuesday.
“We need them now to push the envelope with their MLS teams,” he said. “We need them to understand that there’s more responsibility on their shoulders as a senior national team player.”
We’ll have more from Gil on his time with the USMNT and his first cap later on Wednesday. Stay tuned.
Real Salt Lake defender Nat Borchers made his weekly appearance on ESPN700’s The Bill and Hans Show on Monday, giving a bit of a Super Bowl post-mortem – unfortunately for Nat, he’s a big Broncos fan – and assessing the Claret-and-Cobalt’s first week of preseason training.
As always, Nat gave an interesting interview, with his most prescient moment coming in his analysis of new RSL Head Coach Jeff Cassar. Here’s what Borchers had to say about the Claret-and-Cobalt’s new boss:
“It was a great first week of training,” Borchers said. “I think everybody had uncertainties with how Jeff was going to run things and how we would mesh and vibe with the new coaching staff, but it’s been fantastic so far. Jeff’s been very organized, he’s ran some really good training sessions and he’s getting his ideas implemented slowly but surely. We’re getting our base level of fitness going right now, and we’re just going to get better as the weeks go on. I’ve really been impressed with Jeff and his staff, and I’m really excited about this season.”
Borchers and the rest of his Real Salt Lake teammates will be at Rio Tinto Stadium on Tuesday for the team’s annual Media Day. The squad will leave Salt Lake on Tuesday night, departing for Irvine, Calif. for a 10-day training camp at the University of California-Irvine.
CASA GRANDE, Ariz. – Real Salt Lake finished up its first leg of preseason training on Saturday, playing a 60-minute intra-squad match at Grande Sports World before leaving the home of the RSL-Arizona Academy for the Phoenix airport and, eventually, Salt Lake City.
RSL Head Coach Jeff Cassar split the Claret-and-Cobalt into two squads for the match, putting most of RSL’s available regulars on the White team and putting Real Salt Lake’s reserves and some Academy players on the blue team. The Blue team won the match, taking the lead about halfway through the first half when defender Aaron Maund slotted home a penalty kick. Forward Olmes Garcia – who was one of several players to switch sides in the second half – earned the PK when he was brought down in the box.
The White team controlled the rest of the game, holding the majority of possession and creating numerous chances. They weren’t able to find a finish however, with goalkeeper Jeff Attinella turning in a fine performance – which included a save on a Javier Morales PK, again earned by Garcia – to keep the clean sheet.
Real Salt Lake will arrive back in Salt Lake City on Saturday afternoon, remaining in the Beehive State until Tuesday, when the Claret-and-Cobalt will head to Irvine, Calif. for its second of three preseason training camps.
CASA GRANDE, Ariz. – Real Salt Lake is closing out its week in Casa Grande, with the team scheduled to depart the home of the RSL-Arizona Academy after one final training session on Saturday.
RSL had one training session on Friday, with Head Coach Jeff Cassar putting the team through one of the more strenuous sessions of the week this morning. The Claret-and-Cobalt has the rest of the afternoon off ahead of Saturday’s final session in Casa Grande, which will feature an 11-on-11 intra-squad scrimmage.
We’ll have a report of Saturday’s intra-squad game following the match. RSL will return to Salt Lake City after the match, staying in the Beehive State for three days before heading to Irvine, Calif. for the second leg of preseason on Tuesday.
Billy Witz of The New York Times wrote an interesting feature on the U.S. Men's National Team on Thursday, going in-depth on the USMNT's practice of having players drive minivans to and from practice during the team's annual January camp in Southern California.
Our favorite part of the story came towards the end, when Witz shared an anecdote about RSL's Kyle Beckerman and Nick Rimando providing some roadside assistance to some unfortunate folks involved in a car accident. The passage is below. Top stuff, guys.
From The Times:
"It was not the most dramatic journey of the week. When Kyle Beckerman was driving back from practice Monday, there was an accident not far ahead of his van. He pulled over. Nick Rimando hopped out and, true to his goalkeeping nature, directed traffic. Donovan comforted a distraught young woman involved in the accident; she did not appear to recognize him. The players stayed until the police and paramedics arrived."
Give the entire piece a read, and be sure to check out this photo of Kyle and Nick. It's pure gold.