Archive for September 2013

Real Salt Lake shocks Vancouver, prepare for the US Open Cup

I thought RSL head coach Jason Kreis would play a very heavy lineup of what many see as “B” players or reserves, and honestly many of them have seen a lot of action in reserve matches but the depth and quality of those players was too much for the Vancouver Whitecaps, who are fighting for a playoff spots, to deal with.

I actually liked the lineup of Jeff Attinella, Abdoulie Mansally, Brandon McDonald, Chris Schuler, Lovel Palmer, Yordany Alvarez, Sebastian Velasquez, Cole Grossman, Luis Gil, Devon Sandoval, and Olmes Garcia, I thought it provided a lot of high energy guys with a chance to show what they can do.  Several times this year the combination of Luis Gil and Sebastian Velasquez in the midfield has combined with Garcia and/or Sandoval to provide a very creative and high tempo look to the RSL attack, on Saturday it wasn’t all pretty but it sure was creative and high energy.

The centerback duo of Chris Schuler and Brandon McDonald looked great, and for RSL who has had some defensive challenges in recent weeks the added depth may be just what we need heading into the playoffs.  It was also good to see the two way work of Mansally and Palmer, both of whom showed great diversity for RSL and the ability to shut down some very good Vancouver players, perhaps nobody had a better match under tight scrutiny than Yordany Alvarez. Yordany has played really well at times this year, but he also has made some mental mistakes that have resulted in him making reckless and dangerous challenges that have left RSL short handed, but Saturday he played in complete control and reminded us why the RSL staff like him so much.

It was of course an early goal by RSL rookie Devon Sandoval, with an assist by Lovel Palmer, that was the difference in the match, again showing that RSL’s goals come from all over the roster, Devon becomes the 9th RSL player with at least 3 goals this season.  The team has gotten goals from 13 players this year, which has seen 26 different players get starts this year and 27 have seen action for RSL in MLS action.

RSL got a real boost late in the match as Ned Grabavoy came on in the 72nd minute, and helped to calm things down as Vancouver pushed to draw even.  He came on for Cole Grossman, who had a very good match as he gets back into the picture for RSL.

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An update on Real Salt Lake working to support Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Soccer Kicks Cancer - Breast Cancer Awareness

So for the last several years MLS and RSL have help with the fight against Breast Cancer, this year is no different.

Here are the details of what RSL is doing:

ReAl Salt Lake is offering free tickets to Cancer Survivors for the October 5 game against FC Dallas. There are 20 free tickets for survivorsremaining, and are distributed on a first come first serve basis. All tickets must be ordered by tomorrow Sept 27th so don’t wait.

For information on these tickets please contact Jen Petrosky 801.727.2728 or jpetrosky@realsaltlake.com. Not a survivor, please share this with the survivor in your life.

Survivors will also have the opportunity to present the shield and be recognized as a survivor at the opening of the game.

For additional tickets for survivor family and friends please use the offline order form or contact Jen Petrosky.

The public can also order tickets through the following link http://www.realsaltlake.com/tickets/ticket-promotions Promo Code: ACS

All tickets purchased through this link or the offline form will result in a $5 donation to Making Strides Against Breast Cancer.

The Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk is an opportunity to unite as a community to honor breast cancer survivors, raise awareness about what can be done to reduce breast cancer risk and raise money to help American Cancer Society fight the disease with breast cancer research. This year, the walk will be held on Saturday, October 12 starting at 9 a.m. at Liberty Park in Salt Lake City. To sign up or donate, please click here.

For more information and questions please contact Jen Petrosky 801.727.2728 or Cidne Christensen 801.493.4715

Thank you and hope to see you on October 5th at Rio Tinto and on October 12th at the walk at Liberty Park.

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Should he stay or should he go, the questions about Jason Kreis heat up

Yesterday afternoon we found out that MLS’s newest franchise is looking to make Jason Kreis their head coach, to the point that their taskmasters in Manchester City flew him over for a conversation during RSL’s off week a couple weeks ago. You can read that story from Brian Straus (one of the best in the business) on the Sports Illustrated website. The conversation about Jason contract, which expires at the end of the year has been a talking point for many online and in the stands all year, Brian’s article will only fuel the talk to a new feverish pitch, so I figured why not contribute my thoughts.

My reality is that the fan in me never wants to see Jason leave RSL, he has been here from the start and has played such a huge part in establishing RSL as what it is today.  While it would be easy for him to claim credit for things he never does, instead he points out the efforts of others. He gave us the concept and the reality that “The Team is the Star”, I could go on and on with the things that I admire and respect about Jason and reasons why I hope he never leaves the RSL Family.  I love looking up at the West side of Rio Tinto Stadium and seeing Jason’s name and number 9 up there for all to see.

The reality is that Jason is a 40 years old guy with 7 years of MLS head coaching experience, he will likely be the first MLS coach to have 4 back to back seasons with at least 15 wins and 50 points.  Every GM, President, and owner of a MLS club should be trying to hire him, and if I were starting a new MLS franchise I sure as hell would be trying to hire as many folks from the RSL staff as I could.  NYCFC will have no budget concerns, they could hire any number of big name coaches, but if you look at how few outside coaches have been successful in MLS, you can see why they would look at Jason as a top candidate for the job.  Don’t be surprised if they aren’t (along with others) talking to Garth Lagerway as well.

Jason today after practice again addressed the issue from his perspective, he is focused on doing his job which is trying to win the trophy opportunities that present themselves.  The contract is being worked on by his agent, his focus is on the team.  I expect nothing less, and if he made a quick trip to the UK as reported, I don’t think it impacts his ability or focus on the tasks at hand.  You can see the video of him answering the question on the RSL website.

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RSL to Raise Awareness and Funds to Fight Childhood Cancer

I am always a sucker for a good cause, and this is about as good of a cause as there can be, so I am not going to do anything more than share the RSL press release with you all:

RSL TO RAISE AWARENESS AND FUNDS TO FIGHT CHILDHOOD CANCER AT SATURDAY’S GAME v. SAN JOSE 

RSL to Raise Funds through Ticket Sales; Claret-and-Cobalt to Host Delete Blood Cancer DKMS Swab Event at Rio Tinto Stadium

SANDY, Utah (Friday, Sep. 20, 2013) – Real Salt Lake, in conjunction with Leo’s Paws for the Cause, has teamed up with CureSearch Walk to raise awareness and funds to help find a  cure for childhood cancer at this Saturday’s game against the San Jose Earthquakes at Rio Tinto Stadium.

RSL will donate a portion of ticket sales from this Saturday’s near sellout against San Jose to CureSearch Walk. Additionally, a portion of ticket sales from RSL’s home games on Oct. 5 against FC Dallas and Oct. 23 against Chivas USA will also go towards the organization. Tickets to those games can be purchased with the promo code: KidsCancer at www.realsaltlake.com/tickets/ticket-promotions. Fans are instructed to contact Jen Petrosky at 801.727.2728 or at jpetrosky@realsaltlake.com for more information.

At halftime of this weekend’s match, RSL will recognize a select group of children who are either currently battling cancer or who have defeated the disease. The same group of children will all be participating in the Salt Lake City CureSearch Walk on Oct. 5th, along with Real Salt Lake mascot Leo the Lion, to raise awareness and funds and remember those who have lost battles to cancer. To sign-up for the walk visit CureSearchWalk.org

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Left wondering by RSL’s recent performance and hopeful for the future

Was it the extended break, was it a young rookie center back being exploited by a veteran forward, was it simply that one team was better on that day than the other, or was it something else that was the root of the RSL 0-2 loss at Seattle last Friday?   It was a simple statement last night from Ned Grabavoy, who has been amazing this season, got me thinking.  In response to me saying that I hope he keeps on scoring goals, he said “I have to do more than just that”, and all of a sudden a couple of things clicked for me.

Since July the team has had just 3 clean sheets, 3-0 at FC Dallas, 1-0 over Houston, and 4-0 over Columbus, if the playoffs started today only Houston would make the playoffs.  Since July RSL has given up multiple goals 7 times (2 goals vs KC, Colorado, Portland & Seattle, 3 goals against Portland, 4 goals against New York and LA) all of those teams would make the playoffs if they started today.  I believe there is the problem, a team once known for their lockdown defense (20 goals allowed in 2010, 36 allowed in 2011, 35 in 2012) has allowed 37 goals already in 2013 with 5 matches yet to be played.  That has in part been balanced out by the scoring of RSL, who lead MLS with 52 goals scored this year and still lead the league with a +15 goal differential, but clearly both numbers point to a change in how RSL plays.  For years we have heard that everyone plays defense for RSL, and I believe that is still the case but it appears that in our midfield the shift has been to play a bit more offense.

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Real Salt Lake vs. Seattle Sounders – The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly III

If there has been a bigger MLS regular season match this season than the Friday night showdown between RSL and Seattle, please tell me what it is.  Real Salt Lake has been holding on to first place in both the Western Conference and overall MLS table for a couple months, the Sounders are the hottest team in MLS, so when they meet for the final time of the regular season with a possible swing of 6 points on the line, well expect a very intense match.

Of course every time these two teams meet it tends to be intense, only 2 of the 11 regular season matches have been decided by more than a single goal (a 2-0 Seattle win in March 2009, and RSL’s 2-0 win in June of this year), there have been 3 0-0 draws in the regular season series that sees RSL hold a 5-2-4 advantage and even a 2-1-2 edge in Seattle. The Sounders have 7 wins in their last 10 matches and 4 straight wins and have clawed their way into second place in the West, RSL had a rough July but went 3-1-2 in August to and have scored multiple goals in their last 4 matches.

The Good:

Kyle Beckerman – I always get a good laugh out of MLS fans who seem to have a strict love/hate relationship with Kyle, it is the same at the USMNT level. I get it, he plays hard, he is always in the middle of the action, and if your team is playing against him you will likely resort to making fun of his hair.  Why, because you can find so few flaws in his game, if he is called on to be the guy who breaks up plays in the midfield before they can develop, he does it, if he is called on to be more offensive minded, he can do that too.  No matter what the coach asks of him, he can do it.  Yes he does have a +10 when it comes to fouls committed vs fouls suffered, but surprisingly he has only been whistled for 24 fouls all season.  Off the pitch he is a laid back, mellow guy, soft spoken and great with fans, but when he steps on the pitch he is a warrior pure and simple.  I remember hating him when he was with the Rapids, that is the kind of player he is, you hate him when he is playing against your team, but when he is on your side, you can’t help but love him.

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