The Real Salt Lake-Arizona Academy kept rolling at the Generation adidas Cup on Friday night, beating hosts FC Dallas 3-0 at Toyota Stadium in the tournament’s semifinals to advance to Sunday’s GA Cup Final against Stoke City.
RSL dominated FCD in Friday’s semifinal, outshooting Dallas 22-3 to cruise to an easy victory. Sebastian “Bofo” Saucedo and Josh Doughty powered the Claret-and-Cobalt to victory, with Saucedo scoring a fantastic goal to put RSL up 1-0 in the 32nd minute and Doughty scoring in the 40th and 44th minutes to seal passage to Sunday’s final. Saucedo’s goal was stunning, with the Utah-native chipping a 35-yard lob over the FCD goalkeeper and into the back left corner of the net.
— Real Salt Lake (@RealSaltLake) April 19, 2014
RSL will take on Stoke City in the GA Cup Final at 10 a.m. MT on Sunday morning; the match will be streamed live on MLSsoccer.com. RSL and Stoke played a wild match in the tournament’s group stage, trading late goals to tie 2-2 in regulation before RSL prevailed in a penalty kick shootout.
Real Salt Lake will renew its rivalry with the Portland Timbers on Saturday night, welcoming Will Johnson, Caleb Porter and co. into Rio Tinto Stadium for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff.
Here are a few storylines to watch ahead of Saturday’s match:
RSL looks to stay unbeaten in 2014
Last weekend’s results left RSL as the lone remaining unbeaten in MLS. Currently sitting at 2-0-4, the Claret-and-Cobalt will be looking to pick up the full three points on Saturday – the first of four home games in RSL’s next six matches – after drawing its last two matches.
Can RSL stay hot against Portland?
A lot has been said about RSL’s dominant history against Portland, and rightfully so. RSL enters Saturday’s match on a 10-game unbeaten run against the Timbers, not having lost to the Cascadia side since the first-ever meeting between the sides, way back in April 2011. The Claret-and-Cobalt was particularly strong against the Timbers in 2013, notching a 4-0-2 record against Portland in all competitions, including a perfect 3-0-0 mark at Rio Tinto Stadium. The Claret-and-Cobalt didn’t lack for goals against the Timbers in 2013, with nine different players scoring a total of 14 goals against the Oregon club in the six meetings across all competitions between the clubs.
Morales and Saborio look to continue success against Timbers
No Real Salt Lake players have as successful a history against Portland as Javier Morales and Alvaro Saborio. The dynamic attacking duo has killed the Timbers, with Saborio registering seven goals and one assist in seven career games against Portland and Morales notching four goals and five assists in 10 career matches against the Cascadia club.
The Real Salt Lake-Arizona Academy U-17’s advanced to the semifinals of the Generation adidas Cup on Thursday night, thrashing the LA Galaxy Academy 6-1 to win Group B of the International Division and advance to Friday’s semifinal against hosts FC Dallas.
The Claret-and-Cobalt got off to a blistering start on Thursday, racing out to a 3-0 lead after just 10 minutes and taking a 5-0 advantage after the 26th minute. Forward Sebastian Saucedo had two goals in the win, while RSL Homegrown signing Justen Glad, Alex Knox, Tate Schmitt and Diego Silva added the four remaining goals in the win. The Academy kids put on a show at the right time, too; RSL owner Dell Loy Hansen, President Bill Manning, General Manager Garth Lagerwey and other front office executives were in attendance in Dallas for Thursday’s big win.
— Real Salt Lake (@RealSaltLake) April 18, 2014
RSL will take on FCD in the tournament’s second semifinal at 7:30 p.m. MT on Friday at Toyota Stadium. The semifinal match will be streamed live on MLSsoccer.com. The winner of the RSL-FCD match will take on the winner of the Flamengo-Stoke City semifinal in the GA Cup Final on Sunday at 10 a.m. MT. The two semifinal losers will meet in the third-place match at 9 a.m. MT on Sunday.
"Beckerman's a python, and Bradley's a cobra. One helps his side sort of strangle a game incrementally, and the other one can mesmerize you and figure out exactly where to strike. Either way, you're dead."
-Graham Parker, writer at Grantland and The Guardian
Kyle Beckerman and Michael Bradley: Two of the best central midfielders in MLS, U.S. Men's National Team teammates and stars of Kick TV's most recent MLS Insider piece, "Pair of Aces."
Real Salt Lake U.S. youth internationals Jordan Allen and Benji Lopez continued their fine showing at the Dallas Cup on Wednesday, starting for the U.S. U-20’s in their 1-0 Dallas Cup Gordon Jago Super Group win over a youth side from Mexican club Tigres UANL.
Rubio Rubin had the lone goal in the U.S.’s win, which propelled the U-20’s to Friday’s Dallas Cup Semifinals. Allen, Lopez and the rest of the U.S. squad will face off against Brazilian side Fluminense at 6:30 p.m. MT on Friday, with the winner advancing to take on the winner of the River Plate-Coritiba semifinal in Sunday’s final. The U.S. already beat River Plate in the Group Stage, with Allen registering two assists in the U-20’s 3-2 win over the Argentine club this past Sunday. Lopez scored a goal for the U.S. in its 3-0 win over German club Eintracht Frankfurt on Monday.
Allen and Lopez will return to Real Salt Lake following the completion of the Dallas Cup. Neither will be available for this Saturday’s home game against Portland Timbers.
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
Real Salt Lake owned the Portland Timbers last year, posting a dominant 4-0-2 record in six matches across all competitions against the Cascadia club. RSL and the Timbers will face off for the first time in 2014 on Saturday, when Will Johnson, Caleb Porter and co. will come to Rio Tinto Stadium for a 7:30 p.m. MT kickoff.
The best of the six RSL-Portland games in 2013 came in the Western Conference Final series, which Real Salt Lake won 5-2 on aggregate on the back of a 4-2 win at home on Nov. 10 and a 1-0 win at Portland on Nov. 24. Highlights of those triumphant victories are below. Check them out before Saturday’s big tilt at The RioT.
First Leg: RSL 4-2 Portland
Second Leg: RSL 1-0 (5-2) Portland
The Real Salt Lake-Arizona Academy U-17’s picked up quite the result in the Generation adidas Cup in Dallas on Tuesday night, topping a youth side from English Premier League club Stoke City in a penalty kick shootout after dramatically tying 2-2 in regulation.
RSL twice fell behind on Tuesday night, conceding in the sixth minute when Stoke attacker and Belgian youth international Julien Ngoy cleaned up a rebound to finish from just outside the box. RSL equalized in the 55th minute, when substitute Leo Fuchs unleashed a fantastic drive into the top right corner. The celebration was vintage RSL, with Fuchs and his teammates running over to a team from Layton-based La Roca Futbol Club – in town for the Dallas Cup – for a chorus of the “Believe” anthem.
RSL controlled the rest of the second half, but Stoke pulled ahead in the 70th and final minute, when forward Charles Weston-Hayles took advantage of a goalmouth scramble to pop a shot past RSL goalkeeper Christian Herrera. It looked like Stoke would take all three points, but RSL refused to give up, equalizing in the third and final minute of stoppage time. Newly signed Homegrown defender Justen Glad began the play, sending an excellent long ball over the top to forward Tate Schmitt on the right. Schmitt controlled and cut into the box, hitting a left-footed effort that took a deflection and rolled just across the goal line. Schmitt’s goal – which unleashed another wild celebration – turned out to be the final kick of regulation.
The Claret-and-Cobalt then turned their attention to the penalty kick shootout, with Herrera making one save and Aaron Herrera converting the final shot to give RSL a 4-2 victory. Another wild celebration followed the clinching PK, with La Roca players storming the field and converging with the RSL U-17’s in a raucous, bouncing mass in the penalty area. Such a fantastic moment for the RSL Family.
— Nick Rimando (@NickRimando) April 16, 2014
You can watch the entire match above. The real fun starts at the 1 hour, 24 minute mark, with the game tied 1-1 and Stoke about to pull ahead.
The shootout win keeps RSL in first-place in Group B of the GA Cup’s International Division, giving the Claret-and-Cobalt five points through two games. RSL is one point ahead of second-place Stoke, and two points ahead of third-place LA Galaxy. RSL will wrap group play on Thursday, taking on the Galaxy at 5:00 p.m. MT.
The three group winners from the International Division and the top second-place team will advance to the GA Cup Semifinals, which will be played on Friday. The GA Cup Final will be played on Sunday at 10:00 a.m. MT.
MLSsoccer.com is in the midst of running its "Generations" video series, a sequence of videos looking at the past, present and future of MLS's Generation adidas and Homegrown players. RSL midfielder Jordan Allen featured in the latest Generations spot, with the Rochester, N.Y. native talking about his decision to join the Claret-and-Cobalt academy, his decision to go to University of Virginia, signing with the first-team this offseason and more.
Chicago Fire Homegrown Harrison Shipp and San Jose Homegrown Tommy Thompson are also featured in the video. It's an interesting look at three of the top young players in the league. Give it a watch above.
The Real Salt Lake-Academy U-17’s won their Generation adidas Cup final round opener on Monday, getting goals from Josh Doughty and Sebastian Saucedo to defeat Toronto FC 2-1 in Dallas. New RSL Homegrown signing Justen Glad played the full 70 minutes in RSL’s victory on Monday, as he continues to help the Academy teams close out their season before heading up to Salt Lake City full-time this summer.
The win puts RSL in a tie for first in Group B of the tournament’s International Division, tied on top with a youth side from English Premier League club Stoke City. The premier bracket at the GA Cup, the International Division features three groups of four teams, with each group featuring three MLS sides and one international team.
Widely considered one of the tournament favorites, RSL will continue GA Cup play on Tuesday night, when it will take on Stoke at 7:00 p.m. MT in a battle of the top two teams in Group C. Tuesday’s match will be streamed live on MLSsoccer.com. RSL will conclude GA Cup Group B play on Thursday, when it will take on LA Galaxy at 5:00 p.m. MT.
The three International Division group winners and the top second-place team in the International Division will advance to the Semifinals, which will be played on Friday. The GA Cup Final will take place on Sunday.