Real Salt Lake
Another win for the U.S. U-20’s, another strong performance by a Real Salt Lake player.
Forward Benji Lopez helped the U-20’s to a 3-0 Dallas Cup win over a youth side from Eintracht Frankfurt on Monday, starting and scoring the Americans’ first goal in their victory over the German club. Lopez’s performance came one day after midfielder Jordan Allen notched two assists in the U.S.’s 3-2 win over a River Plate youth side in its Dallas Cup opener on Sunday.
Allen and Lopez were called to the U-20’s last week for the Dallas Cup. The U.S. will play its final Dallas Cup Gordon Jago Super Group match on Wednesday, taking on a youth team from Mexican club Tigres UANL.
— Benji Lopez (@Theonlybenji_11) April 14, 2014
The U.S. currently sits in first place in Bracket C of the Gordon Jago Super Group, three points ahead of second-place River Plate. The three Bracket winners and the top second-place team of the three brackets will advance to the Dallas Cup semifinals, which will be played on Friday.
Real Salt Lake’s Jordan Allen and Benji Lopez began their stint with the U.S. Under-20 national team on the right foot on Sunday, with Allen starting and registering two assists in the U.S.’s 3-2 Dallas Cup win over Argentine side River Plate. Lopez did not feature for the U.S.
Allen helped the U.S. get off to a great start in the 15th minute, playing a perfect pass to the penalty spot to forward Ben Spencer, who converted the chance to give the Americans a 1-0 lead. River Plate hit back with two first half goals to take a 2-1 lead into the break, but Allen helped pull the U.S. even with a 74th minute assist to Rubio Rubin to make it 2-2. The U.S. scored the winner in the 78th minute, when Spencer scored from the penalty spot to make it 3-2.
The U.S. will continue Dallas Cup play on Monday, when it will take on German club Eintracht Frankfurt at 3:00 p.m. MT.
Real Salt Lake will look to extend its unbeaten start to the season on Saturday, when it will take on Philadelphia Union at 2:00 p.m. MT on ABC 4.
Here are a few storylines to watch ahead of Saturday’s contest:
Real Salt Lake undefeated against Philadelphia Union
Real Salt Lake and Philadelphia Union have met a total of six times in Major League Soccer history, with the Claret-and-Cobalt never losing to its Eastern Conference foe. RSL has a 2-0-4 record against the Union, with the two sides tying their last two league meetings. Although RSL is undefeated against the Union, the Claret-and-Cobalt have yet to win at PPL Park, tying every match played there. Both of Real Salt Lake’s wins over Philly came at home, with RSL defeating Philadelphia 3-0 in the club’s first ever meeting on May 8, 2010 at Rio Tinto Stadium and claiming a 2-1 win on Sept. 3, 2011 at the RioT.
Attinella likely to fill in for Rimando for second-straight match
With RSL veteran goalkeeper Nick Rimando still recovering from a knee injury, backup ‘keeper Jeff Attinella will likely start on Saturday in his absence. The Florida native started against Sporting Kansas City last weekend in his first appearance for the Claret-and-Cobalt in 2014, turning in a stellar, eight save performance to keep the shutout and earn a 0-0 draw. The scoreless draw marked Attinella’s second MLS career clean sheet. The 25-year-old made a total of five appearances in 2013, posting a 1-2-1 record and earning one shutout. Rimando missed RSL’s last match against Philadelphia while with the U.S. national team for CONCACAF Gold Cup duty – Josh Saunders started in his place.
The goalkeeper connection – Attinella and MacMath go way back
The relationship between Attinella and Philadelphia goalkeeper Zac MacMath goes way back, with the pair first meeting each other during their days at Tampa-area youth club Clearwater Chargers. Attinella and MacMath faced off against each other several times while in high school, with Attinella – then a senior – usually leading Countryside High over MacMath – who was only a freshman – and St. Petersburg HS. Should Attinella play on Saturday, it would mark the first time the Florida-area natives would face off against each other as pros.
Real Salt Lake looks to remain undefeated in 2014
Real Salt Lake enters Saturday’s match undefeated through its first five MLS regular season matches. RSL boasts a 2-0-3 record for a total of nine points, placing the Claret-and-Cobalt second in the Western Conference – four points behind MLS leaders FC Dallas. RSL is just one of two unbeaten teams in MLS, with Dallas – which hosts Seattle on Saturday – currently the only other squad without a loss. Three of RSL’s first five matches have been on the road, with the Claret-and-Cobalt earning a win and two draws as the visiting side. The Claret-and-Cobalt has a win and a draw at home – defeating Toronto FC 3-0 on March 29 and tying LA Galaxy 1-1 in its home opener on March 22.
MLSsoccer.com's Matt Doyle and Dan Haiek took a crack at previewing Saturday's tilt between Real Salt Lake and the Philadelphia Union, publishing their thoughts on the match in a "Scouting Report" video on Thursday. Give the preview a watch above - certainly worth the time.
Real Salt Lake will look to extend its unbeaten start to the season on Saturday, when it will take on the Philadelphia Union at 2:00 p.m. MT on ABC 4 at PPL Park.
RSL and Philadelphia played to a wild 2-2 draw the last time they met on July 3, 2013 at Rio Tinto Stadium. The Union took an early lead in that match, going up in the 13th minute when Sebastien Le Toux tapped home a Conor Casey cross from inside the six. Things went from bad to worse for RSL - which was without four starters due to Gold Cup duty - in the 59th minute, when defender Lovel Palmer was controversially shown a straight red card for a tackle on Philadelphia's Michael Farfan.
Despite being down a man, the Claret-and-Cobalt was able to find an equalizer in the 75th minute through midfielder Luis Gil, who headed home a Javier Morales cross to tie the game 1-1. Unfortunately for RSL, Casey pulled the Union back ahead one minute later, slotting home past Josh Saunders to make it 2-1. Morales stole a point for RSL right at the death, slotting home a penalty kick in the 97th minute after Union defender Ray Gaddis was whistled for a handball in the box.
Check out the highlights from that wild match - one in a series of insane RSL games in July - above.
Real Salt Lake signed defender Justen Glad to a Homegrown contract on Monday, making the U.S. Under-18 international the seventh RSL-Arizona Academy product to graduate to the first team.
Glad trained with RSL for the entire 2014 preseason, showing well in camps in Casa Grande, Ariz., Irvine, Calif. and at the Desert Diamond Cup in his native Tucson. He picked up a nickname while with the full team, with his angular build, reddish-blonde hair and defensive skills earning him the moniker “Mini-Borchers.”
— Nick Rimando (@NickRimando) February 27, 2014
Borchers commented on Glad’s signing on Monday in his weekly appearance on ESPN 700’s The Bill & Hans Show – and yes, he did mention their physical similarities.
“I can’t wait for the obvious talk on Twitter about how similar we look, Justen Glad and myself,” Borchers said. “He’s just as white as I am, and he’s got a very similar haircut. He can’t grow a beard yet like I can, so we’ll have to wait a few years for that, but we’re really excited about this signing. We got to see Justen up close and personal down in preseason camp, and he’s got a very bright future. He’s a center back slash outside back, he’s only I think 17 years old now, he’s just very good on the ball, not afraid to take players on, really good 1-v-1, really good in the air and he’s just got so much potential.”
Borchers, who will turn 33 next week, said he plans on taking Glad under his wing, just like he has with other RSL players in the past.
“I’m definitely proactive about [helping young players,” he said. “I think that the sooner you impart your knowledge about your craft, the better it’s going to be for these young guys. I think a lot of them can learn from your example, and a lot of times you have to take them aside and talk to them about what you do. But it’s going to be great to see his growth and his learning curve, the same way it was with Luis Gil, with Chris Schuler, Tony Beltran and some of the other guys that came into the league as young guys. We really want to make sure we do our jobs as vets to lead them on the right path.”
We’re not exactly sure what’s going on with this video, but we know it gave us a laugh. Titled simply “Cassar on Lagerwey,” it appears as if it’s a bit of an April Fools gag from five years ago. Smart money says RSL was having a bit of a goalkeeper injury crisis, and the joke was that GM Garth Lagerwey – who played ‘keeper alongside Head Coach Jeff Cassar’s teammate in Dallas and Miami in MLS’s early days – would have to suit up and hop in net.
Just watch the video. It’s a gem.
Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Jeff Attinella had a huge game at Kansas City on Saturday, making eight saves – several of them fantastic – to keep a clean sheet and earn a point for the Claret-and-Cobalt.
Attinella talked about his big game with ABC 4’s Real Sports Live on Sunday, chatting with the station’s Dana Greene in studio about his performance in the scoreless draw at Sporting Park. Check out Attinella’s sit down above.
Real Salt Lake's commentary team Bill Riley and Brian Dunseth also previewed the Claret-and-Cobalt's next match, giving a quick breakdown of RSL's Saturday match at Philadelphia Union at the end of the show. Click here to watch their preview.