Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Most Important of the Six Goals

I know that Real Salt Lake would rather all of us not think about their Open Cup debacle from last night, obviously there wasn't much thought put into the match on their part. So, I'm going to focus my remarks on the joy and joyness that was last Saturday. I mean, can you really talk too much about a 6-0 victory? I didn't think so.

When there are six goals scored in a single match there is a lot to talk about, and a lot to think back on as far as offense is concerned. It will be hard to forget the absolutely wicked volley from Clint Mathis, struck out of the air from a Javiar Morales corner. And, and precise placement of Andy Williams' freekick late in the match was also worthy to be considered one of the best of the week. Let's not forget Jamison Olave's pile driving header to start the scoring, and ultimately win the game.

Although each of those goals were great and memorable, speaking outside the scope of the match itself and looking at the bigger picture, the other three were probably more important for RSL as a team. From this perspective the most important goal was scored by Yura Movsisyan. Last season's playoff hero has lead the team in shots in nearly every game this season and had yet to find the twine until 70 minutes into game Saturday when he got onto the end of a nifty pass from Mathis, and finished into the far sidenetting.

Goal scorers need score goals in order to stay confident and hungry. Hopefully for RSL, Movsisyan finding the net on Saturday will lead to many more through out the season.

It was good for Robbie Findley to get one on Saturday, but not vital. The team's leading scorer has already scored a hat trick this season, and has been brooding with confidence. Contributing to a rout can only do positive things for the guy.

And, finally, there is Luis Miguel Escalada. The much anticipated signing from Argentina opening his account for RSL. Escalada made a nice run for Ned Grabavoy to set him up, and then buried his finish. An encouraging sight for RSL supporters. Now the hope is that Escalada can produce such results regularly and pressure Findley and Movsisyan for playing time.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Utahns in the Pros

Liz Bogus - Since joining the Los Angeles Sol, days after the team's historic first match, Liz Bogus has appeared in every match. She opened her WPS career by starting and playing 70 minutes up top for the Sol in their victory over the Sky Blues in New Jersey. Last week, in LA's 1-0 win over FC Gold Pride, Bogus came on as a substitute in the 67th minute.

Katie Larkin - After not appear for the Sol in their victory over the Sky Blues, Katie Larkin appeared briefly against Gold Pride, coming on in the 92nd minute of the match.

Justin Braun - Sprained his knee a few weeks back and has not dress for Chivas USA in their last three matches.


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Utahn Anchors U-20 Women's National Team

Another diamond in the Utah soccer system is a player graduating from Syracuse High School this spring, and who co-captained the U.S. U-17 Womens National Team at the World Cup in 2008. That diamond is central defender Cloee Colohan.

The name of the West Point native may be new to the even avid followers of the high school game across the state. That's because Colohan has opted not to play for Syracuse HS, but rather focus on her club Black Diamond SC as well as the U.S. Youth National Team.

With the U-17 WNT Colohan anchored the backline of a U.S. team that took second at the U-17 Women's World Cup last summer in New Zealand. Her talents made her an invaluable member of that team, playing more minutes than any other player in the poll during the year.

Colohan's future with U.S. Soccer appears to be very bright. She captained the U-20 WNT for the La Manga tournament held in Spain last month. Playing in all three matches of the tournament, Colohan helped the U.S. to a 1-1-1 finish. Colohan will also be included with the rest of the U-20 WNT as they gather for a training camp to be held at the Home Depot Center, in Carson, California, April 25-May 3.

Following her graduation from Syracuse this spring, Colohan will continue her education and playing career with the Pilots of the University of Portland. The Pilots are a perennial national power that have consistently finished in the top 10 for the last several years. With her extensive international experience, Colohan should be able to provide a nice contribution to an already prolific NCAA program.

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Wednesday, April 08, 2009

LaVell Edwards Stadium considered for USA World Cup Bid

The USA Bid Committee, organized to bring the FIFA World Cup to the United States in 2018 or 2022, mailed letters to stadium operators in various metropolitan markets across the country last week.

Among the 70 stadiums in the 50 metropolitan areas considered was Brigham Young University's LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo. Although the stadium is listed as part of the Salt Lake City metropolitan area. The markets considered range in size from New York City, where the new Meadowlands Stadium will open in 2010 in nearby East Rutherford, N.J., to college town markets such as Lincoln, Neb., and Fayetteville, Ark. See the article from US Soccer for a complete list of the stadiums contacted.

The letters mailed last week from the USA Bid Committee to public officials and stadium operators throughout the United States outline the bid process and criteria for venue selection. FIFA calls for each bidding nation to propose a minimum of 12 stadiums, each capable of seating 40,000 or more spectators. Stadiums with a minimum capacity of 80,000 are required by FIFA for consideration to play host to the Opening Match and Final Match. Out of the 70 stadiums under consideration, more than 65 have a capacity above 60,000, and more than 20 have a capacity above 80,000.

LaVell Edwards Stadium sits right in the middle of the seating ranges required by FIFA with a capacity of 64,045. Its natural grass surface makes the Provo venue more favorable than the next largest stadium in the state up in Salt Lake City, Rice-Eccles Stadium at the University of Utah, that holds 45,017.

Monday, April 06, 2009

RSL Schedule Wallpaper

When I'm not blogging about the world's game I spend most of my days as a mild mannered software developer. While playing around with some code a few weeks back I wrote a little application that creates a desktop wallpaper for your computer.

Essentially, I use the nighttime image of Rio Tinto Stadium, that is available for purchase in the Desert Crown store, as a background. Then I pull the RSL schedule straight off of their site and write it to the image. The result is a wallpaper that updates when ever the RSL site updates. For a geek, such as myself, it was fun to make. And, what fun is making something without sharing it?

Grab your own updating Real Salt Lake season schedule wallpaper here and let me know what you think.

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Saturday, April 04, 2009

WPS: Larkin debuts in opener, Bogus signs with Sol

The dawn of Womens Professional Soccer burned bright on Sunday afternoon as the Los Angeles Sol took on the Washington Freedom at the Home Depot Center. The state of Utah was represented in the match by Draper-native Katie Larkin, who patrolled the left flank for the duration of the second half.

Larkin spent most of her time hugging the sideline, providing an outside option for her teammates to spread the field. She recorded no shots in the Sol's 2-0 victory.

In the same week that Larkin took the field in WPS action for the Sol the Los Angeles squad signed Provo-native Liz Bogus to a developmental contract. Bogus spent the WPS preseason training with the FC Gold Pride but was let go when rosters were finalized. The Sol wasted little time as Bogus was reported to be training with the team within days of being cut from the Gold Pride.

Since graduating Brighton High School, Bogus played three years at Arizona State University before moving on to play for the Pali Blues of the USL W-League in 2008. Incidentally, the Blues took the W-League title that season. Bogus played in nine matches while scoring four goals and setting up another.

The Sol will travel across the country for their second match as they face Sky Blue FC at TD Bank Ballpark in Bridgewater, NJ. The match takes place Sunday, April 5. Kickoff is slated for 4pm ET.

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Friday, April 03, 2009

Goals Runneth Over for RSL in Home Opener

The first hat trick in team history, during MLS play, provided by Robbie Findley and a sublime header from Kyle Beckerman lifted Real Salt Lake to its first home opening win since 2005. In their wake, RSL left the reigning MLS Cup champion Columbus Crew disheveled, reeling from their worst loss since May of 2007.

From the opening whistle the frontmen for RSL, Findley and Yura Movsisyan, relentlessly badgered the Crew defense. Their pressure forced a lot of rushed passes that were either poor decisions or off the mark. A prime example of this was Findley's second goal when a clearance from Columbus goalkeeper Will Hesmer went straight to Findley, who easily dribbled around Hesmer and tapped the ball into an empty net.

People can say that the first two of Findley's goals were scrappy, and that's because they were. He was incredibly opportunistic and buried the easy chances. Will Johnson rifled a superb freekick that led to Findley's goal in the second minute of play. The power and the accuracy of Johnson's shot is what led to Hesmers poor deflection and ultimately Findley scoring the goal.

Findley's header, that ironically completed the hat trick, was pure quality. Rising high above his defender he pounded the ball back across the goal, and behind Hesmer's momentum. Beckerman crashing the near post on a corner, for the fourth RSL goal, was also textbook. If my youth coaches would have been watching I'm sure they would have paused the tape and pointed out Beckerman's movement to the near bar and Nat Borchers shifting to the far bar. Great set piece execution from Salt Lake.

A surprising aspect of RSL's play in their first two games this season is the role of Clint Mathis. I'll admit, last year I was leery of Cletus' return to the Claret-and-Cobalt. With the expectations of his past in mind I was quick to point out his faults when he would fail to score goals. But scoring goals is not what Mathis is about this time around. I've realized in the last week that Mathis is, in a sense, the glue. Javiar Morales is the playmaker and lead creator on this team, there is no arguing that. But, Mathis is the steady presense that keeps things moving. He'll provide devastating passes, as we saw in Seattle when he led Movsisyan on a breakaway in the second half. He'll track back and chase the ball down when ever Salt Lake doesn't have it.

At the Rio Tinto Stadium Open House someone next to me asked if I was a Clint Mathis fan or hater. I weaseled out of an answer by stating some plus and some minuses about the player. But, after seeing his performance so far this season, I would have to say I'm sliding more toward a Mathis supporter.

After getting torched for his performance in Seattle, I find it only fair to point out that Tony Beltran did a lot to restore my trust on Thursday night. He looked much more comfortable, and had a much better time tracking the Crew attackers. This might be an indicator of the quality the Sounders possess, but either way Beltran was much improved in his second match this season.

And finally, there has to be something said about Yura. The man is giving every ounce of effort in trying to score goals, and it hasn't happened yet. In Seattle he missed a blatant sitter, and at home against Columbus he just couldn't get that final touch to go in. His work rate, like everyone of the players under head coach Jason Kreis, is topnotch. He's getting himself in dangerous situations, and I think the goals will come. Although, if he continues to be in those spots and fails to score soon his confidence could suffer. There are only so many times a player can miss before he starts to wonder if he can ever make it. But, I don't think that Movsisyan has reached that point yet.


Utah's Kelly Isleib Called into U-23 WNT Camp

University of Utah forward Kelly Isleib has been called into the U.S. U-23 Women's National Team camp that will be convening in Portland, Oregon in April.

The Park City native was also an Under-20 U.S. National team pool player in 2006, although she torn an ACL in January of the same year.

Isleib led the Utes in scoring this past season with six goals and six assists for 18 points, and she set the Utah school record for most assists in a single season with 13.

The U-23 WNT will train in Portland from April 11-19 and play a series of matches against college teams including Oregon State, the University of Washington, and the University of Portland. The camp is aimed at preparing the team for a possible European tour this summer.

(photo courtesy

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