Real Salt Lake took a step in the right direction Saturday night, beating LA Galaxy 2-1 at the Home Depot Center, placing them five points clear of the defending champions and in second place in the Western Conference.
Here are some interesting numbers from the Claret-and-Cobalt’s victory in Southern California.
RSL is now sitting on a four-game winning streak across all competitions after Saturday’s victory. In addition, Saturday’s game was the fourth multi-goal game of 2012 for Claret-and-Cobalt forward Fabían Espíndola.
Real Salt Lake’s record at the Home Depot Center in 2012. RSL outscored its opposition 12-2 in its four games at the Carson, Calif. facility this year.
Real Salt Lake is the first team in MLS history to leave the Home Depot Center with two wins against LA Galaxy in a single season.
The number of goals Fabían Espíndola has at the Home Depot Center in 2012. The Argentine forward – who, in addition to his two goals on Saturday, scored twice at Chivas USA on June 16 and once at L.A. on March 10 – also has three assists at the HDC this season.
The amount of minutes it took for the Galaxy and RSL to notch all three goals on Saturday night, one from the Irishman Robbie Keane (17’) and two from Fabían Espíndola (25’ & 28’).
Saturday’s victory extended RSL’s club record to 17 wins in the 2012 regular season.
Midseason acquisition Kenny Mansally - a Gambian international and former New England Revolution player - offers us a window into his life in Utah in this edition of "10 things..."
As told to Zach Petersen
- So far everything is going great in Utah for me and I’m loving it. I’ve met some nice people. One thing I’ve noticed in Utah is that people are so friendly. Back in New England, usually I just stayed home more but when I came to Salt Lake, I started going out a little bit. Once I started going out, it’s more fun for me just meeting people and talking to them - how people love soccer, how people are so excited about soccer. Back in New England people love soccer, but I see more of it in Salt Lake than in New England.
- When I was in New England, they never knew that I played left back before. Ever since I played for Gambia, I played left back for my national team. Usually, when we need a goal I go forward, so the coach would push me up and I could hustle up front to get goals. In New England, I just played wide left and forward.
- I’m a Muslim and I fasted during Ramadan. It went great for me. It’s one month and is part of the Muslim calendar. Once it comes, there’s no excuse to take it away from me. I’ve been doing it ever since I was young. For me, Ramadan started when the season was going on but I kept fasting and going to training. I didn’t have a lot of hunger but I was thirsty. You have to fast from sunrise to sunset, so it’s not easy.
- The coaches were very supportive of me fasting. When I talked to them about it they told me that they trust everybody, respect everyone's religions and were fine with me doing it.
- I’m starting to like basketball. I’m trying to play around with my roommate. It’s very different from soccer. I think I should walk on my hands playing basketball. I remember one time I went to one of my friends and we were trying to play some basketball. Every time I shot I missed it. So I was like, “I should try it with me feet and see.” I took the basketball and kicked it with my feet and went through the first time, so I said, “I’m done for today.”
- I love watching American Football as well. I like watching the game on TV, especially watching the teams come out before the game starts and the movement they do in the big groups.
- New England attacker Sainey Nyassi was my roommate back with the Revs and we played for the U-17 & U-20 Gambian teams and we both signed the same time in New England. We had been roommates from 2003 up to 2012, when I moved from Boston to here. We were always roommates on the Gambian teams. He played wide right and I played wide left, so they always put us in the same room.
- I would say the U-17 World Cup is my best soccer memory. That was the first time Gambia had been to the World Cup at any age level. Our first game we played was against Brazil. Soccer is funny. You never know and you can’t predict how the world’s best teams can lose to a team from the middle of nowhere. Brazil scored, and then I scored. That was the first time Gambia had been to the World Cup and the first goal for the country. I will never forget it. We beat Brazil 3-1. Everybody was surprised and was like, “Where is Gambia?” If you saw Gambia on a map, you would probably say, “Is it a street?”
- Outside of soccer, I am so friendly. In soccer, I just come and do my job. Other than that, if I go out, people could come up to me. If you don’t come to me, I will come to you and say hi. I’m equal to everybody. I’m a funny guy and like to make jokes and to play with kids. That’s what I do.
- I would say hiking is my favorite thing to do in Utah. Even in Gambia, they don’t have these kinds of mountains – not in Boston, either. When I came here, I saw the mountains and I was like, “Wow, I should go there.” It’s more fitness for me. It’s kind of like I am doing an extra training, but I love it.
As told to Zach Petersen
- My fiancé and I just had a baby girl. It’s something that you could read a million books and watch a million videos, but until she or he is there, that’s when you start learning. I thought I was prepared, but I wasn’t. When she was born the doctor hands me the diaper and says, “Do you want to change her?” I’m like, “Where does this go?” I was clueless. Even though I’m young, it’s still one of the best things that’s ever happened in my life.
- One of the things I love to do is help people. That’s always been my dream. My fiancé and I have a little charity soccer event that we do back home in South Carolina called “Kicking for a Cause.” It happened out of nowhere. It was three days before Christmas a few years ago. We met some kids that were in the same situation that I was in when I came to this country from Uruguay. They didn’t have much and their Christmas wasn’t going to be like Christmas should be for every kid. We decided to do something and sent emails to everyone we could asking for donations. Within three days we had a great response and filled up a Ford Explorer with food and toys and we gave each family $300. Two years ago we raised $2,000 and this last year we did the same thing. Hopefully this year we can do one here and we can take the money and gifts to kids in other countries. That’s the one thing I would love to be known for, is that I lend a hand to anyone and everyone, no matter who you are, no matter what you’ve done or what you will do.
- I have great friends on the team. Lalo Fernandez and Sebastian Velasquez used to live in the same apartment building, so we used to hang out all the time.
- I’ve known Sebastian for so long. We grew up playing together in South Carolina and it’s such a good relationship we have. We play the same position. Other people can easily turn away from friendship because they are competing every day. It’s not like that with us. I think the friendship will always be the same. It’s such a huge blessing to be able to be on the same team with him.
- I have a pretty crazy personality. At first, I’m very shy and very calm, but once I get to know you, more of me can come out and I’m very different.
- Right now life has really slowed down because of the baby. To be honest, I am one of those guys where I get home and I turn on Netflix and watch my shows. I’m happy that way. I love computers and things and we love to go out to eat.
- Utah is such a beautiful place. We love to go to Park City and through all of the back roads. It’s unbelievable. We have a dog, so we love to go to the park and take him there. My life isn’t extremely exciting but it’s fine for me.
- I’m learning a ton with the caliber of players I’m playing with every day. It’s good because they integrate you into the group. They don’t look at you as a kid or a first year. They try to teach and help you as much as possible.
- One of my favorite moments in soccer was when I was at the University of North Carolina where we were losing 1-0 and there were eight seconds left in the game and the ball popped out to me and I shot, scored and tied it up. Then we went into overtime and I got to take the fifth PK, scored and we won. When I celebrated, there was this photo of my mom, me and my brother and the fans. Being able to share that with them was amazing.
- I’ve had three people influence my life a ton: my dad, my religious influence David Benson and my high school coach Dom Wren. If it wasn’t for those three people I would not be here hands down. They’ve always been there in good times, bad times, really bad times and really good times. To be honest, Dom built me to the soccer player I am today. Those people have been really influential to my life.