Preview: Chivas USA travels to Real Salt Lake in first road match
REAL SALT LAKE vs CHIVAS USA
RIO TINTO STADIUM, Sandy, Utah
March 24, 2012 (WEEK 3, MLS Game #23)
7 p.m. MT (KUCW-30; PRIME)
Real Salt Lake look to maintain their perfect record to start the new season when they meet Chivas USA on Saturday evening at Rio Tinto Stadium. Real made it two wins from two games for the year in their home debut last weekend, a 2-0 win against the New York Red Bulls. Chivas are still looking for their points and first goal on the campaign, suffering a second consecutive 1-0 loss last weekend at home to Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
REFEREE: Mark Kadlecik. SAR (bench): Anthony Vasoli; JAR (opposite): James Conlee; 4th: Michael Kennedy
MLS Career: 15 games; FC/gm: 23.8; Y/gm: 3.2; R: 5; pens: 5
- REAL SALT LAKE - QUESTIONABLE: DF Nat Borchers (L quadriceps strain); MF Will Johnson (R adductor strain); PROBABLE: FW Alvaro Saborio (R knee internal injury)
- CHIVAS USA - OUT: MF Marvin Iraheta (L knee ACL); DF Michael Lahoud (R hamstring strain); QUESTIONABLE: FW Juan Pablo Angel (head contusion); MF Laurent Courtois (L calf strain); PROBABLE: MF Blair Gavin (R hamstring strain); FW Alejandro Moreno (broken nose)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: CHV: Jorge Villafana (USA U-23)
- ALL-TIME (20 meetings): Real 7 wins, 22 goals ... Chivas USA 9 wins, 29 goals ... Ties 4
- AT SALT LAKE (9 meetings): Real 4 wins, 15 goals ... Chivas USA 2 wins, 9 goals ... Ties 3
- RETURN MATCHES: 6/16: Chivas USA vs. Real Salt Lake, 7:30 p.m. PT; 9/29: Chivas USA vs. Real Salt Lake, 7:30 p.m. PT
LAST YEAR (MLS):
5/7: RSL 1, CHV 0 (Johnson 87)
8/27: CHV 0, RSL 1 (Saborio 11)
- Real Salt Lake have a five-game unbeaten streak alive vs. Chivas USA. Since a 1-0 Chivas victory in Carson on May 9, 2009, RSL has four of the five meetings since (with one draw), including a pair of 1-0 victories last season.
- Chivas USA have never won at Rio Tinto Stadium, with RSL winning three of the four meetings there all-time. But Chivas USA won on their final two trips to Rice-Eccles Stadium - and came away with points from their last four.
- Coaches record: Jason Kreis vs. CHV: P11 W5 L5 D1 ... Robin Fraser vs. RSL: P2 W0 L2 D0
REAL SALT LAKE
Real Salt Lake made it two wins in a row to start the 2012 MLS season, making their home debut a happy one with a 2-0 win against the New York Red Bulls on Saturday evening at Rio Tinto Stadium. Real are in a three-way tie atop the Western Conference with 6 points from 2 games.
- RSL broke through in the 39th minute. Paulo Junior flicked on a ball behind the New York back line and Fabian Esp"ndola gathered it in and advanced into the penalty area, where he placed a low strike underneath the legs of RBNY 'keeper Ryan Meara.
- The home side doubled the margin in the 58th minute through some nice build-up along the left side. Rookie Sebastian Velasquez received a through ball into the area, and played it square to Esp"ndola. His shot went into Meara's chest, but the rebound fell to Luis Gil, who blasted the rebound into the net.
- Real head coach Jason Kreis made no changes to the team that kicked off the season with a 3-1 win against the LA Galaxy at The Home Depot Center.
- REAL SALT LAKE (4-3-1-2): Nick Rimando - Tony Beltran, Chris Schuler, Jamison Olave, Chris Wingert - Ned Grabavoy, Kyle Beckerman, Sebastian Velasquez (Jonny Steele 84) - Luis Gil (Javier Morales 62) - Paulo Junior (Alvaro Saborio 62), Fabian Espindola.
- Real Salt Lake continued their unbeaten streak in home openers, now 4-0-4 in their first home games of the year all-time, including a 3-0-1 mark in home openers at Rio Tinto Stadium.
- Heading into the match, left back Tony Beltran was not expected to start, carrying a knee injury. But when replacement Terukazu Tanaka was suffering from the flu, Beltran maintained his place in the first XI.
- "Tony Beltran has stepped forward now in two games, another guy that's been in a very fluid rotation, who knows that this year we're going to need more," said Kreis. "It was a special night for sure. I think that the guys put a pretty solid effort out there tonight, and I'm pretty pleased to walk away with the three points."
- While Alvaro Saborio was healthy enough to come off the bench for a second consecutive match, Paulo Junior maintained his starting spot alongside Fabian Esp"ndola.
- "Paulo, who isn't on the scoreboard for us yet this year, is just doing everything that's asked," said Kreis. "The amount of defensive work that he's putting in is fantastic."
- Javier Morales also came off the substitutes' bench for a second consecutive match, with Luis Gil pulling the strings in attack.
- "I still think we need to improve on the number of players we are getting forward and involved in our attacks. We have some nice fluid movements to get the ball up to our forwards and we need more players to do that than just Luis Gil, and he was often times late in his running to support the forwards," Kreis said. "We need to have two or three midfielders and always an outside back involved."
- Esp"ndola scored for the second time in as many matches, both coming after long solo runs in behind the opposition defense.
- "I thought tonight he was a little less active than he was last week. I thought there were some spaces for both of our forwards to exploit, but I don't they were doing quite as good of a job as they did last week with their movement," Kreis said. "For Fabian to put in the 90 minutes of effort and then to move to the right side of the midfield at the end of the game is a big sacrifice and a big commitment for a guy that runs as much as he does."
Chivas USA suffered a second consecutive home defeat to start the new season, again falling by a 1-0 scoreline, this time to Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Saturday evening at The Home Depot Center. Chivas USA sit at the foot of the Western Conference, the only team in the division without a point on the season.
- The game's lone goal came in the 68th minute. From a corner kick, Camilo fired in a service that found the head of a completely unmarked Jay DeMerit, who dove to head it past Chivas USA goalkeeper Dan Kennedy for his first career MLS goal.
- Chivas USA head coach Robin Fraser made two changes to the team that fell 1-0 to the Houston Dynamo at The Home Depot Center. Ryan Smith came in for Ben Zemanski in the midfield, and Casey Townsend started up top in place of Juan Pablo Angel.
- CHIVAS USA (4-2-3-1): Dan Kennedy - James Riley, Heath Pearce, Rauwshan McKenzie, Ante Jazic - Peter Vagenas (Ben Zemanski 74), Oswaldo Minda - Ryan Smith (Miller Bolanos 62), Nick LaBrocca, Laurent Courtois - Casey Townsend (Cesar Romero 62).
- Chivas USA have opened the season with back-to-back losses for a third consecutive season.
- "This one could be summed up pretty quickly in that I thought we weren't aggressive enough to take advantage of space that was provided to us," Chivas USA manager Robin Fraser said. "Vancouver's game plan was clear, they were going to absorb pressure and look to counterattack. Given the time and space that we had, I just didn't feel that we were aggressive enough in finding ways to go to goal and ultimately making ourselves goal dangerous."
- With Juan Pablo Angel held out of the match due to precautionary measures following a head contusion, rookie Casey Townsend was given the start up top.
- "He had a decent day; it's all still new to him, the pace and everything about it," Fraser said. "I thought he had some bright moments and some moments where he looked young, but it's certainly important for him to get the experience."
- Fraser said Angel will likely be available for selection this weekend, as Chivas look to score for the first time this season in league play.
- "It's something that we need to address and we need to obviously look at. To score goals, we need to really want to score goals," Fraser said. "I just thought that there were too many times (vs. Vancouver) where we had opportunities where with an aggressive move, we might have been able to create a dangerous opportunity and we weren't aggressive enough."
- Newly signed defender Scott Gordon was an unused substitute Saturday, just hours after signing with Chivas. He played for the NASL's Fort Lauderdale Strikers in 2011, making 19 appearances, after failing to catch on with FC Dallas, who selected him in the third round of the SuperDraft.
- "Scott came to Portland with us for the preseason tournament and did extremely well as a right back and has experience playing center back as well," Fraser said. "He's a player that adds some depth and versatility to us."