OK time for some of the official stuff, first off let’s go with the highlight video of the match, which you can check out on the RSL website.
Here are some pictures from the match:
So I have to be honest I am very bummed that I had to leave after the first half of the reserve match between RSL and Houston this afternoon, but the day job had to be dealt with. Still there were some very interesting things from the first half worth taking notice of, first up is that it was the official debut of David Viana who signed with the team last month on the last day of MLS roster moves. He started out playing on the left side of the midfield and I thought his partnership with both Justin Braun and Kenny Mansally who were also focused on the left side of the pitch was very good. He showed some good quality on the ball and was able to make some very nice passes, he seems have a great vision for the game and a very accurate shot. He scored RSL’s second goal of the match, and a great shot from just outside the top of the area.
It is another FIFA break and for Real Salt Lake that means another round of national team call ups. This time 5 RSL players are off to represent their national teams, first up is Luis Gil who is with the US U-20 team in Spain for the Marbella Cup.
You can check out this great interview with U-20 coach Tab Ramos from the US Soccer website where he talks about the tournament in which the US will take on CONCACAF rival Canada on Wednesday, Oct. 10, followed by Scotland on Friday, Oct. 12 and Azerbaijan on Tuesday, Oct. 16. This is a great chance for the U-20’s to get ready for next year’s qualification and U-20 World Cup.
Then there are the call ups that are part of this latest round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying, for the USMNT both Kyle Beckerman and Nick Rimando again were called in for the US which has a pair of matches. On Oct. 12th the US will play at Antiqua & Barbuda and then return to the US for a match on Oct. 16th against Guatemala which will be played at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park in Kansas City.
Will Johnson will again be representing Canada in their pair of matches, at Honduras and home against Cuba. While Alvaro Saborio will be suiting up for Costa Rica as they also have a pair of matches, El Salvador on the road and then Guyana at home. Read more
For the second weekend in a row Real Salt Lake heads into the Home Depot Center and leave with a huge win. Last weekend it was a 4-0 win over Chivas USA, and on Saturday it was a hard fought 2-1 win over the LA Galaxy. Huge as RSL win the season series with the Galaxy and gain valuable points that will play a huge role in the playoffs.
RSL is officially out of the hunt for the Supporters’ Shield as San Jose picked up their 19th win of the season and lead RSL by 9 points with two matches left. Still every point matters as both playoff positioning as well as potential hosting rights for MLS Cup will likely be decided by points won in the last weeks of the season.
For RSL the man of the match was clearly Fabian Espindola who last weekend provided 3 assists and this weekend scored both of RSL’s goals, his 8th and 9th of the season. Of course there was also some huge saves from Nick Rimando and incredible defensive work from all the guys which kept the 20 shots from LA out of the net 19 times. RSL showed that while they may like to play a style where they dominate possession, they don’t need to do that in order to win. It was quality of shots that mattered for RSL who took just 12 but had the same number (6) that ended up on goal and one more than they did that found the back of the net.
For me as a RSL fan there is no better rivalry in Major League soccer, notice I didn’t say the biggest, or fiercest, but I said no better. Here is why, since RSL joined the league in 2005 the teams have played each other 21 times in regular season action, each side has 8 victories and there have been 5 draws. RSL has an edge in goals scored of 36 to 32, and there has never been a 0-0 draw between the two teams. Then add in the 2009 MLS Cup final, when RSL played the spoiler to pull off a PK shootout victory to lift the Cup, and you can also add last year’s Western Conference final where RSL scored first but LA answered back to win the match 3-1.
Even with the current coaches of the teams things are even, Bruce Arena is 4-4-4 against RSL and Jason Kreis is 5-4-4 against the LA Galaxy. LA is 12-3-1 against RSL when they score first, and RSL is 14-1-0 against LA when they score first. This year the teams find themselves locked in a battle for playoff position as both have punched their playoff tickets already this year, RSL has a slight edge with 52 points and a 16-11-4 record, while the Galaxy have 50 points with a 15-11-5 record. LA is at +12 in goal differential, while RSL is at +10 at this point of the season.
Don’t get me wrong there are huge differences between the teams; LA is in the 2nd largest city in the US, while RSL is in the smallest market in MLS. RSL has a payroll of 3.58 million dollars, while the Galaxy have a player that makes more than that by himself, and another who makes just 175K less than our entire roster, in total the Galaxy payroll is over 12 million dollars.
So what is going to happen when these two very different teams face off on Saturday? Read more
So on the last day to make roster moves, RSL made a move that nobody saw coming. They signed David Viana who had been with Atletico Madrid C (their reserve team) for the past year, but had spent time training with the first team. He had to return to Europe to get his paperwork in order and it is my understanding that his Work Visa is done and now they are just waiting on his ITC (International Transfer Certificate). It is my understanding that he should be ready to go on Oct. 10th when RSL’s reserve side will take on Houston’s reserves in a make up match. Then with so many players being gone on call ups (Beckerman, Johnson, Saborio, Gil, and maybe Rimando) and the injury of Ned Grabavoy, he could make the trip to Seattle for the match against the Sounders on Oct. 17th.
A lot of people wondered why a promising young player would leave Europe and come to MLS? It is a great question, it is my understanding that the move was about two things: He wanted to go somewhere he could play, and his agent believed it was a perfect fit with RSL. On thing was made really clear this week, it wasn’t a move made for the money. When the MLS Players Union released their latest salary information, we can see that David will make under $50,000 this year. To me that speaks volumes about the motivation level of this young player to not only try to get minutes, but to make a difference.
So I know a lot of people have asked me why I left SB Nation. It is rather simple, they wanted a site manager, and I wanted to just write a blog. When I joined SB Nation it was a loose knit group of blogger, and as the network has grown it is a much more structured organization. I wish Matt and whoever else may join up with them to continue running RSL Soapbox nothing but the best.
For me I started writing a RSL blog back in 2007, you remember back in the bad days, the dark days, back when the local media was focused on everything except the team and when most bloggers were relishing in pointing out what was wrong. I wanted to look at what was right, and use my passion for RSL and MLS, along with my knowledge of business and marketing to help bring my viewpoints and opinions to people. I have never claimed to be an expert on soccer, or anything else. I started as a fan on opening day and I remain a fan first today.
Here you will find my thoughts on Real Salt Lake, Major League Soccer, sometimes Liverpool, it is my believe that while I love all three of those organizations, they like me are far from perfect. I remember a drill sergeant back in Army basic training, telling me “you don’t make a knife sharper by running it through butter, no you find the hardest thing around and you grind the knife against it”. I believe we can make RSL and MLS better, not by resting on our successes but rather by always looking for ways to improve, to get better. So you will get my thoughts about matches, players, the staff, fans, and everything else that impacts RSL and MLS. I hope you will enjoy reading about my perspective on things.