Blog

Real Salt Lake

17 July 3:52 pm

Real Salt Lake kicks off its three-game homestand on Saturday, hosting Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Rio Tinto Stadium at 8:00 p.m. MT.

Here are a few storylines to watch ahead of Saturday’s clash:

Real Salt Lake looks to capitalize on upcoming homestand

The Claret-and-Cobalt enters Saturday’s match coming off another disappointing road result – a 1-0 loss at LA Galaxy on July 12. RSL has been in a bit of a summer slump, registering just one win in its last seven matches in MLS play. With the Claret-and-Cobalt playing five of the next six matches at home, the Utah club will be looking to capitalize on its home field advantage and collect as many points as possible before heading into the final stretch of the season – just two points separate second-place RSL and fifth-place FC Dallas which occupies the last playoff spot. Real Salt Lake is 4-1-3 at home this year, and posts a successful all-time home record, going 77-32-41 in MLS regular-season play during 10 seasons on Utah soil, and outscoring opponents 246-146.

Nick Rimando in pursuit of the all-time MLS shutout record

Real Salt Lake veteran goalkeeper Nick Rimando is one clean sheet away from tying retired goalkeeper Kevin Hartman for the all-time MLS shutout record with 112. If the 35-year-old ties the record this weekend, Rimando will have as many cleans sheets as Hartman in 59-less games. Hartman achieved 112 shutouts through 416 games played; Rimando has currently played 356 MLS regular season games. The California native will likely surpass the record this year, with 16 MLS matches left to play in the 2014 regular season.

Real Salt Lake looks to snap recent scoring drought

Real Salt Lake has found goals hard to come by in its last seven matches in MLS, recording only four goals in that time frame. With last Saturday’s 1-0 shutout at LA, RSL has now gone 337 minutes without scoring a goal from open play. The last time a goal was scored from open play was when RSL midfielder Luke Mulholland found the back of the net in the 23rd minute of the Claret-and-Cobalt’s 3-1 loss to Portland Timbers on June 7 at Rio Tinto Stadium. Real Salt Lake has also suffered four shutouts in its last seven MLS matches.

Real Salt Lake got off to a fantastic start to the season, scoring 23 goals through its first 11 matches. But with international absences (World Cup) and injuries (Saborio broken foot), the Claret-and-Cobalt has struggled to score consistently.

Will lightning strike twice on Saturday?

Real Salt Lake will have some bitter memories heading into Saturday’s tilt with Vancouver. The last time the two sides met on April 26 at Rio Tinto Stadium, Vancouver staged a wild two-goal comeback in the final minutes of the match to snatch what looked like a sure win from RSL to draw 2-2. The Claret-and-Cobalt jump out to an early lead through goals from forwards Joao Plata and Alvaro Saborio, but RSL was unable to hold onto the lead, allowing Vancouver to score in the 86th and 94th minutes. The Claret-and-Cobalt has made late goals a bit of a habit this year, so Saturday’s contest will be a great chance to demonstrate that the club has learned from its early season mistakes and it can close out matches.

17 July 1:00 pm

Saturday’s matchup between Real Salt Lake and Vancouver Whitecaps FC will likely feature an entertaining clash of the Morales’. RSL’s own Javier Morales will go up against Vancouver’s offseason DP addition, 28-year-old Pedro Morales – who spent the last two seasons with Spain’s La Liga side Malaga CF. If both Morales’ start on Saturday, it will be the first meeting between the two, as Pedro did not appear for the ‘Caps in the clubs’ first encounter of the season at Rio Tinto Stadium on April 26. With the 2014 MLS season past the halfway mark, revisiting a statistical analysis of the two will give greater insight into the influence both Morales’ have had on their respective clubs this year.

Javier and Pedro have a lot more in common than just their last names. The two both hail from neighboring countries in South America – Javier from Argentina and Pedro from Chile. But don’t let their proximity fool you; Argentina and Chile aren’t known to have the best relations which include a deep futbol rivalry between the nations. On the pitch, both Javier and Pedro play a similar role for their respective clubs, both serve as the attacking playmaker on the field – positions associated with the famed number 10.

Javier has been with RSL for his entire MLS career and is now in his eighth season with the Claret-and-Cobalt, so drawing comparisons for the two is a bit premature, but both Morales’ stats in 2014 seem to show how similar the two players might really be.

Javier has started all but one of RSL’s matches this year, appearing in 17 (out of 18) games for a total of 1,515 minutes of playing time. The Argentine has notched five goals and five assists, and recorded a total of 28 shots with eight shots on goal. Pedro has also made 17 appearances this year for his club, 15 of which were starts, for a total of 1,363 minutes. Pedro has six goals and eight assists on the year, and has pulled the trigger more often, registering a total of 52 shots with 20 on goal.

Here are some comparable stats between the two:

STATS

Javier Morales (RSL) 1,515 min.

Pedro Morales (VAN) 1,363 min.

Chances created (incl. assists)

62

47

Chances created from open play

49

39

Chances created from set play

13

8

Passing Accuracy

81.31

81.02

Passing accuracy in opp. half

78.44

77.18

Passing accuracy in final third

71.22

69.27

Passes into final third

178

210

Successful crosses/corners

30

28

As you can see from the above table, the two playmakers have similar stats halfway through the 2014 season. Passing accuracy between the two is almost even across the board. Javier has the upper hand on total number of chances created while Pedro claims more passes into the final third. Both have a similar number of successful crosses/corners. The most glaring difference between the two is rather the number of shots taken and shots on goal.

Saturday’s matchup is expected be an entertaining one, especially if both Morales’ play, but hopefully not as entertaining as the last meeting between the sides that saw RSL concede two late goals in the final five minutes to draw 2-2.

17 July 11:00 am

Real Salt Lake Captain Kyle Beckerman and goalkeeper Nick Rimando attended the 2014 ESPY’s last with U.S. Soccer, as the team took home the Best Moment award for its 2-1 win at the death over Ghana in its opening World Cup match. Check out some of the best tweets and photos of the sharp dressed duo enjoying the festivities:

16 July 2:17 pm

The RSL-Arizona Academy U-16's will take on Strikers FC tomorrow in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy Playoff semifinals at StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. The U-16's are looking to retain their title as USSDA Champions - the young Claret-and-Cobalt side took home the championship title in 2013. A few Real Salt Lake first-team players and coaches, along with GM Garth Lagerwey sent a good luck message to the U-16 squad. Check out the video below.

You can send your best wishes to the youngsters by tweeting at the @RSLAcademy handle.

12 July 9:12 am

Find out how MLSsoccer.com's Matt Doyle and Nick Firchau see Saturday's Western Conference clash going. Give their Scouting Report preview a watch above

11 July 12:18 pm

Real Salt Lake last met LA Galaxy on March 22 in its 2014 home opener at Rio Tinto Stadium, drawing 1-1 with the southern California side. But now the tables are turned and RSL will be facing the Galaxy on its home turf at StubHub Center for the second time this year. The Claret-and-Cobalt pulled off a 1-0 win in its season opener at LA on March 8. RSL will be looking to remain undefeated against the SoCal side in the regular season for just the third time in RSL history when they clash on Saturday.

The last meeting between the sides saw a beautiful half-volley scored by RSL forward Alvaro Saborio and a nice finish from LA forward Robbie Keane to top off an excellent individual effort. Saborio will be unable to do a repeat performance as he is still recovering from his foot injury, but that leaves room for one of the other Claret-and-Cobalt strikers to step up and deliver. Get pumped for tomorrow’s match by reliving RSL’s 2014 home opener.

10 July 3:27 pm

Real Salt Lake hits the road on Saturday, taking on Western Conference rival LA Galaxy at StubHub Center at 8:30 p.m. MT. Saturday’s match will be broadcast live on CW30, ESPN 700 and 102.3 La Gran D FM.

Here are a few storylines to watch ahead of Saturday’s clash:

Real Salt Lake looks to go undefeated v. LA in 2014 regular season

Saturday’s match in California will be the third and final regular season meeting between RSL and LA Galaxy. The two sides met twice in March this year with the claret-and-Cobalt pulling off a 1-0 win in its season opener at StubHub Center on March 8, and then drawing 1-1 two weeks later at Rio Tinto Stadium. If RSL gets a positive result this weekend, it will mark only the second time in Claret-and-Cobalt history that RSL has gone undefeated in the regular season against LA.

Nick Rimando in pursuit of the all-time MLS shutout record

Real Salt Lake veteran goalkeeper Nick Rimando is one clean sheet away from tying retired goalkeeper Kevin Hartman for the all-time MLS shutout record with 112. If the 35-year-old ties the record this weekend, Rimando will have as many cleans sheets as Hartman in 60-less games. Hartman achieved 112 shutouts through 416 games played; Rimando has currently played 355 MLS regular season games. The California native will likely surpass the record this year, with 17 MLS matches left to play in the 2014 regular season.

Morales and Donovan look to continue success against each other

RSL’s Javier Morales and LA’s Landon Donovan have torched each other’s teams in their MLS careers. Morales has put up five goals and eight assists in 16 career regular season games against the Galaxy. Those numbers are impressive, but Donovan has done Javi one better, registering nine goals and nine assists with LA in 20 career regular season games against RSL. Donovan’s nine goals and nine assists are the second-most against RSL of any player in MLS history in both categories.

Beckerman and Rimando remain undefeated in 2014 MLS play

RSL Captain Kyle Beckerman and goalkeeper Nick Rimando are still currently undefeated in MLS play in 2014. The U.S. international duo left for  World Cup duty after the club’s 5-2 win at Houston Dynamo on May 11, and up until that point the Claret-and-Cobalt were still undefeated in MLS play. Upon the duo’s return to Salt Lake last Friday, RSL pulled off a 2-1 victory over New England Revolution to keep RSL undefeated in 2014 when both players are in the lineup. Beckerman’s only defeat this entire year came at the hands of Germany, in the U.S.’s 1-0 loss in the group stage of the World Cup. Even if the club is no longer undefeated (RSL went 1-3-2 in their absence) Beckerman and Rimando can still keep their individual streak alive this weekend.

10 July 12:50 pm

After a delayed and then restarted match on Tuesday and Wednesday, the Real Salt Lake-Arizona Academy U-16’s advanced to the 2013-14 U.S. Soccer Development Academy semifinals with a 1-0 win over the San Jose Earthquakes U-16’s.

In the originally scheduled match on Tuesday, the Claret-and-Cobalt got off to a fantastic start with two goals in the first 26 minutes from forwards Josh Doughty and Brooks Lennon, but the match was stopped and eventually postponed due to approaching storms in the area. In accordance with U.S. Development Academy rules, the game was restarted the next day with a 0-0 score line since the match had not reached halftime.

With the sneak peak of Real Salt Lake’s attack the previous day, San Jose came out better prepared and displayed a much improved defensive effort. Real Salt Lake managed much fewer chances but was able to finish one in the 60th minute through midfielder Evan Waldrep that proved to be enough to send the Claret-and-Cobalt through.

RSL registered its first chance of the reschedule match in the 13th minute. Doughty started the play, connecting with Waldrep who found an open Lennon in the box. Lennon let one rip but the attempt flew over the crossbar. In the 19th minute, Waldrep would again provide service for a teammate, holding up the ball 20 yards from goal until Diego Silva found space on the left wing, shooting from the edge of the box and forcing a deflection away for a corner kick.

At the start of the second half, Real Salt Lake started on the front foot, creating chances almost immediately. In the 44th minute, Lennon passed the ball to the top of the 18 yard box to waiting midfielder Danilo Acosta, whose shot flew over the crossbar, failing to challenge the San Jose keeper. With RSL pressing on the attack, San Jose was able to find some space behind the defense on the counter. RSL goalkeeper Christian Herrera was forced in several moments to make leaping saves to stop San Jose’s crossing attack from the wings.

Real Salt Lake finally found its much awaited goal in the 60th minute. Waldrep was again at the center of the action, finding space at the top of the 18 yard box to blast a shot that deflected off a San Jose defender and into the net.

After going down a goal, San Jose desperately searched for the equalizer forcing more big saves from the Claret-and-Cobalt’s Herrera. Entering the final ten minutes, San Jose began to throw every man forward, resulting in some nervy final moments for Real Salt Lake. In the 73rd minute, San Jose found space on a counter attack, unleashing a shot from 20 yards out that forced another save from Herrera.

Real Salt Lake were able to weather the storm through and secured the 1-0 win to advance. The RSL-Arizona Academy U-16’s will now play in the semifinal match held on Thursday, July 17 in Carson, California. The opponent is still to be determined.

09 July 1:53 pm

Real Salt Lake Head Coach Jeff Cassar sat down with Dunny last Friday to discuss the first half of the 2014 MLS season, the Claret-and-Cobalt’s busy July schedule and the return of U.S. internationals Kyle Beckerman and Nick Rimando. RSL went on to snap its five-game winless run, topping New England Revolution 2-1 in front of a sold-out crowd at Rio Tinto Stadium. Hopefully, things continue to go RSL’s way as it face a difficult road match at LA Galaxy on Saturday.

Check out the mid-year review interview below: