Friday, April 28, 2006

RSL Optimism

There are a lot of reasons why I like the fact that RSL is hosting the LA Galaxy on Saturday. The two clubs have a lot in common this year, none the least of which is their records (RSL: 0-3-1, LAG: 1-2-1) and the lack of goal scoring production (both tied for the league worst of 3).

While voices from either side are generally upbeat and can be heard speaking of being very close to being very good there is a distinct difference in the tone from Salt Lake then there is in least in what is being said to the press.

After last weeks overdose of Tang, RSL team members continued to uplift each other in the press. Even reserves such as Nelson Akwari showed their support to the level of it being publicly praised by several of his team mates.

On the other side of the coin there is LA who have been let their frustrations vent about their team mates to the press.

After allowing Chicago to equalized on a freekick in the 86th minute at home Landon spoke his mind about his team.

"I honestly feel like I'm on a high school team sometimes with the decisions people are making and the things people are doing. You don't go sliding into a tackle on the edge of the box against Justin Mapp. It's just stupid. You get away with that in college. You get away with that in high school because guys aren't good enough."

The following line from Landon is my favorite, and another reason why the ployoff system needs to be rethought.

"We were able to hide things a lot last year because we put together four good games at the end of the year but it doesn't hide the fact that we have some issues," (Soccer America).

Then after losing to the Crew on another late freekick Kevin Hartman let his voice be heard.

"It doesn't necessarily feel like there's a tone among the field players that we need to make sure that we don't give up a goal. I'm not sure if we're mature enough as a team yet in terms of decisions that we make and tactically how we play," (MLSnet).

Add this negative attitude inside the team with the whole Lalas-Sampson fiasco being egged on by Eric Wynalda and it spells a distracted LA Galaxy coming to Rice-Eccles Stadium, a place where RSL has shown that they can play well.

Like I said before, I'm optimistic for Saturday.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Tang Colored Dynamo

As I waited for my MLSnet MediaPlayer to make it's connection so I could watch RSL take on the Houston Tang-amo I noticed the flaw in the Player window - they showed me the score. Why would I want to watch a game I already knew the score of? Message to mlsnet tv guys - PLEASE TAKE THE SCORE OFF THE PAGE WITH THE VIDEO!

There was a time when such an activity was appealing to me - thus explaining the hundreds of game tapes in my video collection - but that time has largely passed. Especially since history was not made tonight for Real Salt Lake. We are still winless on the road.

After an entire season, and now three more games on the road with largely a new group of players, you have to wonder what is wrong with the RSL game day routine on the road. I know, those who saw the game might point to Kries' free kick in the second half that hit both posts and cry that RSL was "unlucky" not to get a tie or even the win, but I disagree. The Tang colored Dynamo dominated. Well, it looked like they dominated. Really what happened is that RSL was simply disconnected.

It seemed as though the only way t get the ball forward was lumping it up to the strikers. Going through the midfield wasn't working, the ball kept getting turned over to the Orangemen... midfield turnovers, now that sounds familiar. So, rather than loose the ball at the center circle it made sense to sky a ball out of the back and hope for Cunningham or Harris to find their way under neath it.

All biases aside, Houston has a great team that plays fast attractive soccer. I hope the Texan city knows what it has. I know the small band of flag bearers behind the left goal understand, it's the rest of the city I'm thinking about.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Yeah it's late...but oh well you're still reading it

What can I say about the Dallas game that hasn't already been said. The team's on-field attitude improved and it was a closer result because of that. If RSL were to follow the natural progression of things they would tie the Red Bulls in Salt Lake this weekend and then beat the Dynamo in Houston the next. Or, maybe those should be switched...

To be honest I only caught the first half of the game last week. I was already in Salt Lake and so I made my way over to a fan gathering at Iggy's. It was fun to be with fellow RSL supporters, and great to see the good number of people gathering at Iggy's, as I know there are multiple gathering spots for RSL supporters around Salt Lake.

My night went quite well actually. I saw the good half the game, where Klein tucked away a curling free kick and then I left at half time for a sweet show. The great part about the concert was that I didn't have to sit through the several opening bands. We showed up to the venue just as the last opener was finishing up. Some friends saved us some great seats and we only had to watch the band we wanted to see.

If you're curious, we saw a band called The Format, a great set of musicians from Phoenix. I recommend their music highly.

As for RSL, at least the boys look and play like they care.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

UPDATE: Sergio Flores not in Portland

Photo of Sergio FloresIt seems that the enigmatic Sergio on trial with the Timbers this last weekend was not Sergio Flores, but rather Sergio Iniguez. My first clue was seeing Flores at the gym this morning - in Logan, UT. He knows me as "the crazy guy at the gym who knows who I am and talks to me," so I asked him about Portland. He looked puzzled. I mentioned that people had thought he was on trial with the Timbers and his exact quote was, "it wasn't me."

When I made it over to the forums to inform the Timber faithful, they had already figured it out. Mainly due to the pictures, which I had not previously seen before writing the previous post. To compare, Flores is pictured above in his RSL kit. The Sergio from the trial is pictured in green below, and Sergio Iniguez is pictured as well. Looks like a closer match than with Flores.

Sergio at Timbers TrialSergio Iniguez

Thanks again to the folks over at for the Iniguez pictures.

Monday, April 03, 2006

More Utah Influence for Timbers

So that we can get last Saturday behind us, I'm going to focus on something totally unrelated for the time being - the Portland Timbers of the USL First Division, which is the second division in the US professional ranks.

It started with the acquisition of former RSL assistant and Blitzz boss Chris Agnello, and now that their roster is becoming more and more familiar I would have to say that, after being aware of the leagues existence for several years, I have finally picked an second division team to follow.

As one of the most widely blogged about teams of the lower divisions, information about the Timbers is quite plentiful.

One such blog, timberblog, I came across in the aggregator. Agnello's name caught my eye and I followed the link to a post about a scrimmage. In there you find that after being jettisoned by RSL Luke Kreamalmeyer has resurfaced with the Timbers (pictured here at the scrimmage, photo courtesy of . From all accounts from the Timbers fans who saw him at the the scrimmage, they're salivating to have the former RSL midfielder in Portland.

Also spotted was a player known only to those in attendance as "Sergio." It was discovered by the timberblog that it was Sergio Flores. The difference with Sergio than Kreamalmeyer is that Luke is signed and Flores is not. The Smithfield native may only be training with the Timbers until he goes back to the Bolivian league.

UPDATE: It was later decided that it was not Sergio Flores, but another Sergio.

Another blast from the past is former Utah Blitzz member Jacobi Goodfellow, pictured below in a Blitzz uniform playing in a 2004 US Open Cup match against the Timbers on June 30th in Salt Lake. The Timbers beat the Blitzz that night. He has apparently signed with the Timbers.
Not surprising that Agnello is going with some guys that he knows. It's causing me to take interest and wondering if I can sneak a trip out to Portland this summer.

RSL picking up where it left off...

More of the same, only the cast has changed. The impenetrable force that is the goal for RSL - meaning the goal they're attacking - continued it's dominance into the teams second season. Chivas USA blanked Real Salt Lake 3-0 in the opening game of the season for both clubs at the Home Depot Center.

I should say early that I'm not calling for anyone's heads. It's only one game. But as a fan, it's frustrating. I don't remember Guzan having to make any fantastic saves. When you watch your team build up toward goal what you want to see are shots on frame. For me anyways, that would be promising. According to the stats on the league site, RSL had 2 to the Goats 8.

I did like how Douglas Sequeira won balls at the middle of the park. The man is a battler and fought to regain possession for Salt Lake the whole match. When he consistently passes to RSL team mates and not the other team, he'll be great.

Mehdi was all right. He was imaginative and has a very nice touch on the ball and well weighted passes. It wasn't a WOW performance by the Moroccan by any means, but it was positive.

Nothing else really stood out to me as far as individuals. It seemed like the defense ran away from the man with the ball a lot. And the passing at midfield was nice, unless of course it was meant to go to an RSL player. And then the play in the attacking third was as baffling as it was last year.

But, I'd like to be an optimist. We can learn from such a loss. This beating got our boys' attention. It will now be interesting to see how this group responds to the adversity. Next stop is Dallas who beat out a good Fire team 3-2 on Saturday.