As always, ABC 4’s Real Sports Live did a great job of covering Real Salt Lake on Sunday night, going in-depth on the Claret-and-Cobalt’s home opening 1-1 draw with the LA Galaxy.
RSL defender Nat Borchers appeared on this week’s show, talking about Saturday’s match with ABC 4’s Wesley Ruff. Check out Nat’s interview above.
Nice work from MLSsoccer.com's Matt Doyle and Dan Haiek previewing Saturday's RSL-LA tilt. Check out their scouting report above.
MLSsoccer.com’s Scott Pierce updated Real Salt Lake’s injury situation on Wednesday, writing up a piece off of RSL Head Coach Jeff Cassar’s Tuesday media availability.
First, the good news: RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando is a go for Saturday’s home opener against LA Galaxy after having some back issues last weekend at San Jose.
Now, the bad: Claret-and-Cobalt midfielder Sebastian Velasquez and defender Aaron Maund will both miss the match due to hamstring injuries. Forwards Robbie Findley – recovering from surgery – and Devon Sandoval – rehabbing a preseason foot injury – will also miss the match.
RSL’s questionable contingent includes midfield maestro Javier Morales, defender Chris Schuler, defender Kwame Watson-Siriboe and midfielder Jordan Allen. Morales missed Saturday’s draw at San Jose with a back injury, Schuler is coming back from offseason surgery and has yet to play this year, Watson-Siriboe is recovering from a torn ACL suffered last summer and Allen hurt his ankle in an appearance off the bench at San Jose.
Cassar expanded on RSL’s health situation on “The Bill & Hans Show” on ESPN 700 on Tuesday afternoon, talking to Hans Olsen and fill-in host Keith Stubbs at the club’s Meet the Team event from Scheels in Sandy.
You can listen to Cassar’s full interview here. Here’s what he had to say regarding the club’s injuries:
On the injury situation as a whole:
“They’re all progressing. I think Sebastian Velasquez maybe took a step backwards, he kind of re-aggravated his hamstring while training with the guys that didn’t travel [to San Jose last weekend], but all the other ones are progressing. Whether they’ll be available or not we’ll have to evaluate that in the next few days.”
On Nick Rimando and Aaron Maund:
“Nicky’s feeling great. He just had a spasm that tightened up during the game, but he’s feeling fantastic. He did great in training today. Aaron has a hamstring pull, he’s probably day to day, but I’d say it’s not looking good for him this weekend.”
On whether having this many injuries is rare this early in the season:
“A lot of them are things that happened last year. Chris Schuler, Devon Sandoval, Robbie Findley, they’re carrying over from [older injuries], so we’re trying to be careful. It’s a long season and we don’t want them to stay injured, so we’re trying to be careful. Robbie’s a little bit further away, but Schuler’s starting to get into full training sessions, so we’re really happy about that.”
The LA Galaxy won’t be a happy bunch at Saturday’s RSL home opener at Rio Tinto Stadium.
LA lost its CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinal series on Tuesday night, falling 4-2 in the second leg at Mexican side Club Tijuana to drop the series 4-3 on aggregate.
LA got off to a nightmare start at Estadio Caliente, giving up three goals in the first 30 minutes to fall behind 3-1 on aggregate. The Galaxy pulled within one goal when Robbie Keane put away a 47th minute free kick, but fell behind 4-2 on aggregate when Richard Ruiz scored for Tijuana in the 82nd minute. Keane pulled LA back again in the 85th, but it wasn’t enough, with LA failing to find a winner in the game’s final stages.
The CCL Quarterfinal loss adds to LA’s rough start to the season, with the Galaxy now having a Champions League loss under their belts to go along with their season opening defeat to your Claret-and-Cobalt. Real Salt Lake will look for its second win against LA on Saturday, opening its 2014 home schedule at 2:00 p.m. MT against its Western Conference rival. Get your tickets here.
Real Salt Lake will open its 2014 home schedule on Saturday, when the LA Galaxy will come to Rio Tinto Stadium for a 2:00 p.m. kickoff.
The Galaxy aren’t worried about Saturday’s match just yet, however, what with the small matter of a CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinal second leg at Mexican club Tijuana to attend to tonight. The Galaxy beat Xolos in the first leg of the series last Wednesday, topping the Baja California club 1-0 at StubHub Center.
Tonight they have a taller order: Hold off Tijuana in a hostile environment south of the border. LA will need a strong performance from its full complement of players if they’re to advance past Xolos and into the CCL Semifinals, where they would face the winner of the Sporting Kansas City-Cruz Azul series. The first leg of that series would be played on April 1, 2 or 3.
Tonight’s LA-Tijuana second leg kicks off at 8:00 p.m. MT. Watch it live on Fox Sports 2.
ABC 4’s Real Sports Live was in LA this weekend for RSL’s season opener, covering the Claret-and-Cobalt’s 1-0 victory at the Galaxy from front to back with plenty of postgame content.
Real Sports Live’s Bill Riley and Brian Dunseth sat down with new RSL Head Coach Jeff Cassar, goalkeeper Nick Rimando and defender Aaron Maund after the game, speaking with all three about their solid individual performances and the team’s impressive win.
Sunday’s Real Sports Live also featured a couple more pieces of Real Salt Lake content, with ABC 4’s Wesley Ruff sitting down for an in-studio interview with RSL President Bill Manning and Cassar and Dunny’s Crossbar Challenge airing on the show.
Real Sports Live’s postgame interviews with Cassar, Rimando and Maund are below.
Cassar and Rimando:
Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando was at it again on Saturday night, playing out of his mind to preserve a 1-0 season opening win for RSL at LA Galaxy.
Rimando made nine saves on Saturday, several of them fantastic. Nicky saved his best stop for last, saving the Claret-and-Cobalt's win with a penalty kick stop on Galaxy forward Robbie Keane after RSL defender Tony Beltran was controversially whistled for a foul in the box on LA substitute Rob Friend.
"In that moment, it just felt [like] somebody wanted to take the game away a little bit," Rimando said after the game. "I knew [Keane] likes to stutter step and I waited as long as I could. [I] went to my right, reacted and was lucky to make the save."
Saturday's PK stop means that opponents have only put 41 of 61 attempted regular season PK's past Rimando. His 32.8 percent success rate on penalties is the best such rate in league history. The veteran backstop is now only three shutouts away from tying Kevin Hartman for the all-time MLS record with 112 clean sheets.
Check out Rimando's PK stop above.
With Real Salt Lake opening their season against LA Galaxy tomorrow, we're facing once again one of the difficult sides in MLS to play against. With some attentive play and effective possession, we can neutralize the threat and create options for ourselves at the same time.
Narrow at the back
LA Galaxy are not, I think, a side that will hit you with incredible crosses consistently; they are, however, a side that can always spot any gaps and spaces between the center backs and the full backs. Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan both excel at stepping into the channels, though the way in which they operate differs somewhat.
If we are to prevent those deadly two from capitalizing on any space, we have to remain somewhat narrow at the back. This should not be entirely too problematic, though. It was something we could pinpoint in several preseason matches: the full backs tuck in when defending and push out wide in attack. Exaggerating this a bit could help our chances.
Soak up pressure
It's difficult to say how LA Galaxy will come out of the gates, but with the first match in front of their home crowd, they'll likely see some attacking impetus behind them. If we can adjust our game to soak up some of the inevitable pressure that comes our way, we can avoid getting caught out when a fast Galaxy side comes streaking at us.
This doesn't mean surrendering possession by any stretch, but it does mean we'll want to shape our approach to regaining it. We can't have defenders pushing too far, as we'll get caught — this is something we saw in previous matches against the Galaxy.
This approach does, however, require more than a modicum of attentiveness and preparedness from the midfield: This necessitates moving as a unit and understanding where pockets of space have and will emerge. This also means we must watch any runs further inside our area — if we let someone like Robbie Keane move into a more open position, we won't fare well.
Hit them on the counter
We should be a fine counterattacking side but too often we lose sight of that. While the focus is and should continue to be on effective play through possession, we have the right tools for effective play on the break. With Olmes Garcia and Joao Plata, we have quick forwards who can find themselves in great positions; in Kyle Beckerman and Ned Grabavoy, we have midfielders who can hit anybody with a pass; in Luis Gil and Javier Morales, we have attacking players who can really create opportunities.
By soaking up pressure when we don't have possession, too, we encourage Galaxy to push further into our half in an attempt to break our stance and find space to create. While there is some inherent risk in this, it allows us to take advantage of the plentiful options at our disposal.