The first glimpse of what the 2010 edition of Real Salt Lake could look like came today at the club's training camp at the Francisco Grande Resort, where the reigning MLS Cup champs participated in its first intra-squad scrimmage of its 2010 preseason. In the scrimmage, which was contested in three 20-minute periods, goals by FW Pablo Campos and MF Collen Warner would lift the Yellow squad to a 2-1 victory over its Red counterpart, which received its lone goal from FW Fabían Espíndola.
The Red team had the session's first quality chance seven minutes in when Espíndola sprang FW Tino Nuñez into the area with a perfectly weighted through ball, but the third-year striker was forced wide by a hard-charging GK Tim Melia and hit the subsequent shot into the right side-netting. The scrimmage's first goal came from the Yellow side at the 15-minute mark, the play starting in the back with a clearance by DF Kris Banghart that was won at midfield by Warner. After finding newcomer FW Abe Thompson, the veteran striker played a lengthy give-and-go with Campos that resulted in the Brazilian getting behind the Red's backline and finishing from 12 yards out past GK Kyle Reynish, who flew off his line trying to force a quick attempt on goal.
The Reds came out in the second period and controlled the bulk of possession, but could not find the goal to pay off its work on the ball. Nuñez and Espíndola would come close though, the former's attempt in the 23rd minute whistling past goal, while the latter's left-footed screamer from 20 yards out four minutes later forced the best out of Reynish, who leapt and extended fully to his right to tip the Argentine's effort just over his crossbar. Dangerous moments were also created by the Reds at the end of the period, but MF Javier Morales couldn't shuffle his feet in time to connect with a corner kick that fell to his feet at the left post in the 38th minute, while MF Nelson Gonzalez's well-placed free kick to the top of the six was narrowly missed by DF Chris Schuler's diving header attempt.
The Reds would finally push through at the start of the third stanza, MF Ned Grabavoy's industrious work on the ball and ability to achieve the endline softening up the defense for a cross into the six that was easily finished by Espíndola on the doorstep, tying the scrimmage at 1-1. But five minutes from the end of the scrimmage the Yellows would jump back on top when a series of passes across the field to the right flank ended at the feet of Warner. The rookie midfielder touched the ball back to the left before uncorking a low shot that took a deflection off a defender's leg, which wrong-footed GK Sean Milligan and snuck just inside the far left post.
Real Salt Lake News & Notes
• Only two guest players took part in today's contest - GK Sean
Milligan, who tended the nets for Dartmouth last fall, and M/F Donny
Toia, a product of the RSL-Arizona Under-17 Program.
• The other goalkeeper that was a guest for the opening days of Real Salt Lake's spring training, Colombian Carlos Ortiz, made his final appearance at training yesterday and has departed the squad's Casa Grande camp.
• Real Salt Lake will train this afternoon and once more on Friday before beginning its exhibition schedule in earnest this Saturday, Feb. 20 against USSF Division 2 side - and 2011 MLS expansion team - Vancouver Whitecaps FC, the match kicking off at Francisco Grande at 4:00 p.m. MT. Real Salt Lake's full 2010 Preseason slate is listed below.
• Fans can receive updates from all of Utah side's preseason affairs as they occur via Real Salt Lake's official Facebook page and Twitter feed, while the team's official website, RealSaltLake.com, and blog, Behind the Shield (located at RSLtotheCore.com) will also provide comprehensive coverage of the Claret-and-Cobalt's preseason matches.
Real Salt Lake 2010 Preseason
RSL Intra-squad Scrimmage (60 minutes)
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Francisco Grande Resort - Casa Grande, Ariz.
YELLOW - Pablo Campos (Abe Thompson) 15
RED - Fabian Espíndola (Ned Grabavoy) 41
YELLOW - Collen Warner (Andy Williams) 55
Yellow Line-up (4-4-2): GK-Tim Melia (Sean Milligan 20) (Melia 40); DF-Robbie Russell, DF-Kris Banghart (Jamison Olave 20), DF-David Horst (Banghart 40), DF-Raphael Cox; MF-Alex Nimo (Warner 40), MF-Collen Warner (Donny Toia 20), MF-Andy Williams, MF-Will Johnson; FW-Abe Thompson, FW-Pablo Campos
Red Line-up (4-4-2): GK-Kyle Reynish (Milligan 40); DF-Tony Beltran (Davis 40), DF-Rauwshan McKenzie (Nat Borchers 20), DF-Chris Schuler (McKenzie 40), DF-Justin Davis (Chris Wingert 20); MF-Ned Grabavoy, MF-Jean Alexandre, MF-Javier Morales, MF-Nelson González; FW-Tino Nuñez, FW-Fabían Espíndola
Real Salt Lake 2010 Preseason Schedule (subject to change)
Feb.13-27: Preseason Trip #1 to the Francisco Grande Resort in Casa Grande, Ariz.
Fri., Feb. 26 - RSL v. Colorado Rapids - Francisco Grande Resort - 4:00 p.m. MT
March 5-21: Preseason Trip #2 to Charleston, S.C.
7th Annual Carolina Challenge Cup - Blackbaud Stadium in Daniel Island/Charleston, S.C.
Sat., March 13 - RSL vs. D.C. United - 3:00 p.m. MT
Wed., March 17 - RSL vs. Charleston Battery - 3:00 p.m. MT
Sat., March 20 - RSL vs. Toronto FC - 3:00 p.m. MT
Sat., Mar. 27: Real Salt Lake 2010 MLS opener at San Jose Earthquakes (7:00 p.m. MT, live on Fox Soccer Channel)
Thur., Apr. 1: Real Salt Lake at Houston Dynamo (7:00 p.m. MT, live on ESPN2)
Sat., Apr. 10: Real Salt Lake 2010 Rio Tinto Stadium opener vs. Seattle Sounders FC (7:00 p.m. MT)