Sunday, June 17, 2007

We are Real Salt Lake

Send us your tired, your weary, your unsharp, and unconfident. Send us your winless and frustrated and we will give you wins. Is your defense having troubles keeping the ball out of the net? Don't worry, we don't put shots on frame. Do you have troubles scoring? Although our goalkeepers are pretty sharp, our back line will loose you in an instant. Here to make you look and feel your best, we are Real Salt Lake.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Would somenoe please pick up the needle! The record is broken!

July 22, 2006. Real Salt Lake host FC Dallas and keep the game scoreless into the 93rd minute when Abe Thompson broke through back line and strokes home the game's only goal.

April 07, 2007. Real Salt Lake take at 2-1 lead into the waning moments of stoppage time until Carlos Ruiz knocks in the equalizer in the 94th minute.

June 14, 2007. Real Salt Lake appear to be headed to their third scoreless draw in a row - in league play. That is until Dominic Oduro gets the ball almost precisely where Thompson struck 2006 and pounds in the lone goal of the match.

It's erie how similar the results continue to be with Dallas when they come to Salt Lake. However, I do respect Coach Kreis' comments afterwards where he told his team to push forward for the win, which could have made the defense vulnerable. It was that and not being able to mark Alvarez or Orduro for most of the match. It's a good thing Nick Rimando has been on his game lately, or the score easily could have been worse.

Speaking of Kreis, I am one to think that his overreaction and eventual expulsion from the match had more to do with his frustration in his team than the actual no-call on the Goodson-Harris challenge in the box. From my angle, it looked like Atiba jumped up with both feet, landed on both feet, and rolled on the ground.

Since we're on the subject of history, I'm not sure I want to take about RSL's chances against the Galaxy on Sunday. The Gals are pitiful these days, but the Home Depot Center is rarely kind the Salt Lake boys.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Quick! Now's our chance! (RSL-FCD preview)

History isn't on RSL's side as they take the field against FC Dallas tonight. Overall, the Hoops own the series at 7-2-1. But, if there was ever a time to get 3 points from FCD, now may be the most opportune.

With Carlos Ruiz out with Guatemala in Gold Cup action and team leading-scoring Kenny Cooper falling victim to a classless tackle from Tyrone Marshall over the weekend, Dallas will be short handed on offense.

Couple that thought with the fact that they have allowed more goals, 17, than any other team in the Western Conference, and RSL fans could be outright giddy about their chances tonight.

I'm not saying that Dallas are a push-over team. A very sharp Juan Toja and Abe Thompson, who historically has done well at Rice-Eccles, will be causing problems for the Salt Lake defense. Potentially, so could Arturo Alverez who bagged his first goal when these two teams last met in Frisco.

Also keep in mind that history likes to repeat itself in MLS - think of RSL's record with Colorado. And, when a team has 7 wins against you in 10 meetings that can be a hard mental obstacle to overcome.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Esky Explanation

In thinking about my Esky comment in my last post, I feel like I need to explain why it was noteworthy to mention him trotting onto the field.

Initially, I was not a fan of the trade. Expelling the team's leading scorer for a not-as-lethal, yet younger, Alecko Eskandarian only made sense on one level - personality. Even if they never actually had a falling out, it was obvious that Jeff Cunningham and Jason Kreis came from two completely different worlds. Cunningham gives off the aura of a flashy arrogant goal scorer, while Kreis is more of the bleed for the team kind of guy. Both personalities have their place on a team. But, when the team bleeder becomes coach you would have to think the flashy guys days are numbered.

And so it happened, and now we have Esky - who's never been quite the same player since donning the headgear. But, like I mentioned previously, I'm getting more excited to have him around. Here's to hoping that his tap in against China is the first of many more for RSL.

Photo credit: Claire Monson/The Daily Universe

Friday, June 08, 2007

Chinese National Team and the FBI in SLC

It's not every day that you pull into the Rice-Eccles parking parking lot for a game and see a Federal Bureau of Investigation Mobile Command Unit situated across several parking spaces. I'm still trying to figure out why it was sitting there so conspicuously in front of the stadium.

The fun part of the game was that with the extremely young RSL line up, and even with the well known players in uncommon positions - Harris at holding midfield, for example - it really felt like I was watching a game between a couple teams I've never seen.

The Chinese defense was not into high pressure or high intensity. Most of the time when an RSL player received the ball he seemed to have a moment or two to think through his next move.

However, their attack was always quite organized. For me, when ever they were bearing down on the RSL goal I was nervous. With that in mind, I do like Chris Seitz. That kick has no fear and made some fantastic saves. I hope that RSL can hang on to him for a while.

Watching Esky trot onto the field in an RSL uniform gave me chills - no wait, that was because my coat wasn't properly buttoned and a breeze cut through.

Seriously though, I like seeing Esky up top. Atiba Harris has no business playing in the center of the park. Ball control in tight spaces combined with quick intelligent passes are things you will not see from Harris, and we did not see from Harris against China.

Even though I initially rolled my eyes to Freddy Adu's over-dramatized dribbling antics on the ball, it was fun to see. He was very relaxed and loose. Tonight, he kept trying to pull off the fantastic - and that's rare in this league. It'll be nice when he's successful at pulling that stuff off.