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Real Salt Lake

25 June 2:05 pm

The Real Salt Lake-Arizona Academy U-18's and U-16's are both in Dallas this week for the U.S. Soccer Developmental Academy Playoffs. Garrett Cleverly is on-site in Texas with RSL-AZ and will be providing regular updates on the teams through the conclusion of the playoffs on Friday. 

FRISCO, Texas - The Real Salt Lake-Arizona Academy U-18's dropped its opening game of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy Playoffs, 2-1, to St. Louis Scott Gallagher Missouri on Monday night. 

Picture gallery here

Down a goal with five minutes remaining, RSL subbed in Te Wihongi and it paid off moments later, when Wihongi crashed into the box and headed in the equalizing goal from a Isaias "Junior" Juarez cross. The celebration was short-lived, however, as St. Louis stormed back up the field after the restart and scored the game winning goal in stoppage time from a looping shot outside of the 18.

With the loss, RSL is not eliminated in the playoffs but need some help from the other teams in their group to remain alive. If St. Louis win another game, RSL will be eliminated from the playoffs.

St. Louis came out aggressive and strong in the opening minutes of the game. RSL's Corey Nemeth had a goal saving kick save in the 11th minute and 'keeper Cesar Cobos stopped a 1-v-1 in the 20th. RSL settled down a bit, but their opportunities in front of the goal were limited to shots from outside of the 18 and from the wing. RSL's best chance was in the 33rd minute when Andrew Brody countered and played a through ball to Benji Lopez. His turned and fired a shot that tailed just high. Cobos made another 1-v-1 save with minutes remaining to keep the game scoreless going into the half.

RSL made three subs during the halftime break and moved Jon Zabasajja back to CB. This proved to be vital as Zabasajja became a wall in the back, winning almost every header and making a key stop in the 60th minute when a St. Louis attacker broke free after Cobos came out for a tackle. The player took a shot and Zabasajja made a goal line stop to keep the game scoreless.

RSL's luck ran out in the 69th minute when a St. Louis player broke free. RSL defenders moved up for the offside trap but a well-timed run by the St. Louis player put him in behind, rounding Cobos and slotting the ball home to put RSL behind. RSL continued to struggle connecting the ball but found the break when Wihongi scored in the 86th minute.

St. Louis pushed forward after RSL's equalizer, finding the winner in second-half stoppage time. An ill-timed switch by the RSL defense gave a St. Louis player an open look, allowing him to chip the ball over the head of a leaping Cobos. RSL had one final chance but a low cross was easily cleared giving St. Louis the 2-1 victory.

The RSL U-18's next game is on Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. MT against the CASL Chelsea FC Academy. The U-16's kickoff their playoff slate at 6:15 p.m. MT against FC DELCO.

25 June 11:07 am

As fun as it's been to be a part of RSL's scintillating run of form in MLS play as of late, it's time to put that on hold for a few days. That's because a huge opportunity is knocking for the Claret-and-Cobalt this week: Their Quarterfinal matchup in the 2013 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. On Wednesday RSL will host the NASL's Carolina Railhawks at Rio Tinto Stadium with a trip to the Semifinals against either the Portland Timbers or FC Dallas on the line. Real has talked about the emphasis being put on the tournament this year - talk which has been backed up by strong lineups thus far - and this game will be no different. Expect RSL to trot out its best available lineup for this one, in spite of this being the team's second of four matches in just 12 days. And if you're Jason Kreis, that makes sense when you consider the following:

  • RSL is only three wins away from getting the CONCACAF Champion's League berth that goes to the winner of the U.S. Open Cup. When you consider the various paths that lead to a Champion's League spot, at the moment this one is by far the easiest.
  • The stars seems to be lining up for RSL. It's almost like some unearthly force wants Salt Lake to win the Cup. Kreis is fond of saying "fortune favors the bold", but sometimes fortune just favors the fortunate. Real has played all three of their Open Cup matches at home, and if they win, they will also host the Semifinal match. While the odds of winning a coin flip (which is how match venues are determined in the USOC) are 1 out of 2, the odds of winning four straight coin flips like RSL just did are only 1 out of 16. On top of that, Salt Lake also has yet to face an MLS opponent in Open Cup play.
  • The Quarterfinals is the farthest RSL have ever advanced in this tournament. A win on Wednesday would break new ground for the franchise.

As I wrote last week, any fan who hasn't experienced a U.S. Open match needs to get down to the stadium for this one. Both teams are going to be highly motivated since a win gets them two wins away from hoisting the trophy and their next match would be at home. Carolina will be a decided underdog against the MLS league leaders, but don't underestimate the RailHawks - they've done well in the tournament before and have already sent Chivas USA and the LA Galaxy packing this year. Carolina's roster is loaded with ex-MLS talent and plenty of young MLS players on loan, and their coach Colin Clarke is a familiar face in MLS circles, heading up FC Dallas from 2003-2006.

For RSL's part, fielding a strong lineup means they will be anxious to take command of the match early and not give Carolina a chance to get a late equalizer or winner. If a criticism can be made of RSL's Open Cup run so far, it's that both previous matches against lower-division opponents have gone to extra time. RSL eventually showed their quality in those matches, but they made for tense moments and extra work to be done. With four games in 12 days, Kreis won't be eager to see his team put in 120 minutes on Wednesday - strong emphasis will be placed and getting ahead and not allowing a comeback.

former RSL beat reporter for multiple outlets, Jeremy Horton is a regular contributor to RealSaltLake.com and helps cover the team for ESPN 700 AM.

25 June 11:00 am

"It's a trophy. I want to win that. I want to win a trophy this year for our club, for our fans, for everyone. So why not put a bunch of emphasis on it? Why not make our stand in the Open Cup?"

-Tony Beltran

Real Salt Lake is ready for tomorrow night's USOC Quarterfinal. Are you? 

24 June 3:49 pm

Good news RSL fans! 

Come out on Wednesday night, eat a free hot dog and help RSL get one step closer to the Open Cup trophy and a return to the CONCACAF Champions League. Get your tickets here.

24 June 2:08 pm

The Real Salt Lake-Arizona Academy U-18's and U-16's are both in Dallas this week for the U.S. Soccer Developmental Academy Playoffs. Garrett Cleverly is on-site in Texas with RSL-AZ and will be providing regular updates on the teams through the conclusion of the playoffs on Friday. 

The U.S. Soccer Development Academy Playoffs kickoff Monday night for the Real Salt Lake U-18 Academy team and on Tuesday for the U-16's. For the first time in Academy history, the U18's enter the playoffs as the top-seeded team in their group. The U16's head into the week as the second-seed in their group. 

Thirty-two teams qualified for the playoffs. The teams are divided into eight groups of four, with every team facing off once against each of the other three teams in their group. The group winners will advance to U.S. Soccer's Finals Week in Houston from July 14-20. 

Real Salt Lake is one of just six teams to have their U-18's and U-16's qualify for the playoffs in each of the past three years. 

See below for a full breakdown of RSL's group opposition and a full schedule for the week: 

U-18 Group Breakdown and Schedule:

 

Overall Playoff Seed

GP

W

L

T

PTS

GF

GA

PTS/G

Real Salt Lake

#7

28

19

5

4

61

73

35

2.18

DC United

#9

25

17

6

2

53

72

29

2.12

CASL Chelsea FC Academy

#17

25

14

7

4

46

37

28

1.84

St. Louis Scott Gallagher Missouri

WC #11

27

14

9

4

46

50

31

1.70

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Previous results for the U-18's:

2011-2012: RSL finished second in its group with a 2-1-0 record. 
2010-2011: RSL finished second in its group with a 2-1-0 record. 

Schedule

Mon., June 24
Real Salt Lake vs St. Louis Scott Gallagher Missouri  - 8:15 p.m. MT at FC Dallas Sports Park Field #15

Tues., June 25
Real Salt Lake vs CASL Chelsea FC Academy - 8:30 p.m. MT at FC Dallas Sports Park Field #15

Thurs., June 27
Real Salt Lake vs DC United - 10:00 a.m. MT at FC Dallas Sports Park Field #15

U-16 Group Breakdown and Schedule:

  Overall Playoff Seed GP W L T PTS GF GA PTS/G

FC Dallas

#3

27

21

4

2

65

70

18

2.41

Real Salt Lake

#14

28

17

6

5

56

68

34

2.00

FC DELCO

WC #4

25

14

7

4

46

47

29

1.84

Sockers FC

WC #9

27

13

7

7

46

39

22

1.70

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Previous results for the U-16's:

2011-2012: RSL finished second in its group with a 2-1 record.
2010-2011: RSL won its group with a 2-1-0 record. In Finals Week the U-16's finished second in its group with a 1-0-2 record, eventually winning third-place by beating Real So Cal in penalties. Click here for video of that third-place victory.

Schedule:

Tues., June 25th
Real Salt Lake vs FC DELCO - 6:15 p.m. MT at FC Dallas Sports Park Field #12

Wed., June 26th
Real Salt Lake vs Sockers FC - 8:00 p.m. MT at FC Dallas Sports Park Field #9

Fri., June 28th
Real Salt Lake vs FC Dallas - 10:00 a.m. MT at FC Dallas Sports Park Field #7

24 June 12:12 pm

Real Salt Lake put in an incredibly professional performance on Saturday night against Seattle, bossing the game and beating the Sounders 2-0 at Rio Tinto Stadium.

Here are a few interesting numbers from the match:

30

Real Salt Lake now has 30 points this season, tied with Portland for the most in MLS. The Claret-and-Cobalt – which, it’s worth noting, has played more games than most teams in the league – has more wins than Portland and is technically in first-place in the league.

5

Saturday’s win was RSL’s fifth straight across all competitions dating back to its 3-2 victory over the NASL Atlanta Silverbacks in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup third-round on May 28. RSL is now unbeaten in its last seven games across all competitions.

17-2

Real Salt Lake outshot Seattle by the ridiculous margin of 17-2 on Saturday. Sounders FC’s first shot didn’t come until the 73rd minute; the Cascadia club’s only shot on goal was in the 82nd.

478

RSL Captain Kyle Beckerman became MLS’s all-time leader in fouls committed on Saturday night. He now has 478 career fouls in regular season play, one more than previous record holder/former MLS midfielder Jesse Marsch.

8

The number of team’s remaining in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. Real Salt Lake will look to move into the tournament’s final four on Wednesday night, when it will host the second-division Carolina RailHawks at 7:30 p.m. at Rio Tinto Stadium. Get your tickets here

24 June 11:03 am

RSL midfielder Luis Gil started and played 90 minutes in the U.S.'s 1-1 draw against France in the U-20 World Cup on Monday. 

Gil - who scored a fantastic goal in the Americans' 4-1 loss to Spain on Friday - was active again on Monday, sending in the set piece that led to the U.S.'s 85th minute goal and seeing a penalty kick saved earlier in the second half. The U.S. is now in third-place in Group A, one point ahead of last-place Ghana, which lost to France on Friday and takes on Spain at 11:00 a.m. MT on Monday. The U.S. will take on Ghana in its Group A finale on Thursday at 11:00 a.m. MT on ESPNU and WatchESPN. 

The top two teams from each of the six groups and the top four third-place sides in the tournament advance to the competition's Knockout Stage. 

24 June 8:33 am

Real Salt Lake midfielder Luis Gil and the U.S. Under-20 national team will look to bounce back from Friday's 4-1 defeat to Spain in the FIFA U-20 World Cup on Monday, when they'll take on France at 9 a.m. MT in Istanbul. The match will be broadcast live on ESPN2, WatchESPN and Univision Deportes. 

The U.S. currently sits in last in Group A with 0 points, trailing third-place Ghana by one on goal differential. The top two teams from each of the six groups and the top four third-place sides in the tournament advance to the competition's Knockout Stage. 

Gil played well against Spain, looking sharp in all areas of the field and curling in a marvelous goal. The 19-year-old Southern California native and his U-20 teammates will wrap up the Group Stage on Thursday, when they take on Ghana at 11 a.m. MT. 

22 June 10:40 am

Real Salt Lake and Seattle have formed somewhat of a rivalry over the years, and though it's no longer in its nascent stages, there's bound to be plenty of talk about it. But despite the familiarity of the two opponents, some things this time around are a little different.

Absent Alonso

Seattle is a familiar enemy, but without the likes of Osvaldo Alonso, they'll take on a different look. Since 2010, Alonso has missed only one MLS match against Real Salt Lake; he'll miss his second tonight, according to reports. Without their hard-tackling, short-passing midfielder Real Salt Lake should have a little more freedom to play through the middle, but any relaxing on our part would be remiss.

Still, while Alonso's absence bodes well (but not so well as to allow us a moment to relax), it does rather sting when we know we once again won't be able to see Alonso and Beckerman going at it in the midfield. Remember, if anybody asks you which of the two is better, simply point to a passing chart and ask how many of Alonso's are forward-moving compared to Beckerman's. It quite clearly illustrates the distinction between the two. (Here's a number: Beckerman's passes are 43 percent forward-moving; only 26 percent of Alonso's are.)

Injuries and adjustment

With RSL playing up the middle — which, if we're to be honest, isn't unusual — the deeper midfielders will have greater responsibility. Undoubtedly, Javier Morales will still move into wide positions, and the outside-diamond players will make diagonal runs to and from the flanks, but it's when they're closer to their starting spots that they'll have the best options emerge. Seattle is a team that notably plays well out wide, with Alonso covering huge swathes of ground in the middle. They'll miss that.

Without Kwame Watson-Siriboe and Chris Schuler, another chance for young defender Carlos Salcedo has been created; he'll be looking to put in a good shift with some questions about the necessity of an acquisition looming. Expect his partnership with Nat Borchers to see Borchers stay deeper and Salcedo to step slightly further forward, particularly as we look to win long balls in the air. This match will almost certainly see plenty of those.

International returns

In a sense, we're somewhat lucky that Kyle Beckerman and Nick Rimando consistently join with the national team only to not play. They are, one would imagine, less fatigued than those players who put 90 minute shifts in. Though we missed no MLS matches with those two gone this time, there's still a palpable sense of relief at their uninjured return. Seattle does receive Brad Evans and Eddie Johnson back from United States duty and Mario Martinez from Honduras, but the two former played high numbers of minutes and may be in doubt for the match so as to allow some recovery time for the pair.

regular contributor to RealSaltLake.com, Matt Montgomery runs the SB Nation blog RSL Soapbox. Follow Matt on Twitter @TheCrossbarRSL

21 June 3:22 pm

Real Salt Lake and Seattle Sounders FC don't have the longest history, but - despite its relative brevity - the rivarly between the Claret-and-Cobalt and the Rave Green is full of great moments. Saturday's match between the two Western Conference powers figures to be another solid meeting. Until then, enjoy these four "Signature Moments" in the RSL-Seattle series. 


March 30, 2013: Luis Gil scores a fantastic diving header in RSL's 2-1 win over Seattle at Rio Tinto Stadium. 


Nov. 2, 2012: Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando turned in a performance for the ages in RSL's scoreless draw at Seattle in the first leg of the 2012 Western Conference Semifinals, making incredible stop after incredible stop - even after suffering a broken nose in the second half - to keep the clean sheet. 

Nick had so many good stops in the game that we thought it'd be unfair to single out just one. The full highlights - featuring all of Rimando's fantastic stops - are below:


Nov. 2, 2011: Tony Beltran had one of the best goal-line clearances we've ever seen in the second leg of RSL's Western Conference Semifinal series against Seattle, acrobatically heading away a Jeff Parke volley to keep the game scoreless. The Claret-and-Cobalt went on to lose the match 2-0, but advance past Seattle and into the West Final 3-2 on aggregate. 


Oct. 29, 2011: RSL ran rampant in the first leg of the 2011 West semis against Seattle, downing the Sounders 3-0 at Rio Tinto Stadium to take a hefty lead into the series' second leg. Alvaro Saborio had the first two goals for the Claret-and-Cobalt - his second was particulary impressive, with the Costa Rican striker showing just how skilled he is with an incredible back-heeled goal.