RSL SEES MLS UNBEATEN RUN SNAPPED IN PORTLAND
Timbers FC Striker Kenny Cooper’s First Half Tally Enough to Stop Utah Side’s Regular Season Undefeated Streak at 18 Games
PORTLAND, Ore. (Saturday, April 30, 2011) – Real Salt Lake saw its attempt to even the longest undefeated run in Major League Soccer history stopped one game shy of the mark tonight after suffering a 0-1 defeat at Portland Timbers FC. After entering the affair with a perfect 4-0-0 mark in 2011, Real Salt Lake (4-1-0, 12 pts.) saw a goal from Timbers FC (3-3-1, 10 pts.) striker Kenny Cooper in the 22nd minute stand until the end, snapping the Utah side’s 18-match unbeaten regular season run that dated back to last July.
It was a tale of two halves, as Portland ruled the run of play for most of the first half, with Colombian forward Jorge Perlaza creating much of the havoc in the attacking third on quick counter attacks by the home side. However, it was Cooper that would get the job done in front of goal midway through the opening stanza, meeting a MF Kalif Alhassan cross from the left flank from five yards and redirecting to move the scoreboard.
The insertion of midfielders Will Johnson and Andy Williams at the halftime break seemed to help swing the possession level back to Real Salt Lake’s side, but the Timbers would manage to keep the clean sheet in a match that saw the two squads combine for just 14 shots – and just six on frame.
Real Salt Lake Match Notes
- Real Salt Lake’s 18-match undefeated streak in regular season play (10-0-8) fell just one shy from evening the League record of 19, set by the 2010 edition of FC Dallas (a streak that ended in Sandy last Oct. 16) and the 2004-05 Columbus Crew. RSL’s previous defeat in MLS action came at the hands of FC Dallas last July 17 at Pizza Hut Park (0-2 L).
- That was not the only lengthy run that ended tonight at JELD-WEN Field, as RSL’s nine-match road unbeaten stretch (3-0-6) also fell by the wayside. That mark was tied for the second longest in League annals (with 2004 CLB and 2007-08 CHI), behind only FC Dallas’ 12-match run in 2010.
- After last Wednesday’s grueling 0-1 defeat to CF Monterrey in the CONCACAF Champions League Finals second leg, RSL Head Coach Jason Kreis elected to rotate his line-up on the evening, giving defenders Robbie Russell (L hamstring strain) and Jamison Olave and forward Fabian Espíndola the night off. The trio of midfielders Collen Warner and Jean Alexandre and FW Arturo Alvarez all received their second starting nods of the season, while DF Chris Schuler filled in for Olave at center back, marking the second-year performer’s third start of 2011.
- Cooper’s goal was just the second allowed by Real Salt Lake this season and snapped a 213-minute shutout streak. Los Angeles Galaxy FW Juan Pablo Angel’s 79th minute tally in RSL’s 4-1 victory at Rio Tinto Stadium marked the only other goal allowed by the Utahns in their five regular season contests to date.
- Real Salt Lake will return to the friendly confines of Rio Tinto Stadium next Saturday, May 7, when the Claret-and-Cobalt will welcome former assistant coach Robin Fraser and his Chivas USA (2-2-3, 9 pts.) squad to Sandy. Kickoff for the Saturday matinee at “The Fortress” is set for 2:00 p.m. MT (live on TeleFutura) and will be presented by OhMyCrafts.com, which will give the first 1,000 mothers through the gates a free RSL cinch sack. Tickets for the contest remain available and can be purchased online at www.RealSaltLake.com, over the phone at 801-727-2700 or in person at the Rio Tinto Stadium Box Office, Monday-Friday from 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. MT and on gameday beginning at 10:00 a.m.
- Before that fixture, Real Salt Lake will contest its third MLS Reserve League contest of the season – and its first on the road in Central Conference play – this Tuesday, May 3, when it will travel to the nation’s heartland to take on the Kansas City Wizards (9:00 a.m. MT / 10:00 a.m. CT kickoff).
MLS POST-GAME QUOTE SHEET
PORTLAND TIMBERS FC 1 : 0 REAL SALT LAKE
REAL SALT LAKE HEAD COACH JASON KREIS
On RSL’s overall performance: “I felt like there was 45 minutes of really poor stuff and 45 minutes of really good stuff. I think the first 45 minutes were caused because we still had one foot in Wednesday night. Then we get to the second 45 and our guys were really confident and aggressive, and all the things I want to see for the entirety of 90 minutes.”
On playing reserves due to recent participation in CONCACAF: “It’d be completely unfair to blame anything on any of those guys. The substitutions we made were because we were one goal down and we needed the energy.”
On team’s reaction after the loss on Wednesday: “I’m okay, again I would’ve liked to not waste 45 minutes but I think you do have to feel good about what they did in the second half.
It’s difficult. We’ve seen the end of what was a fantastic run in the CONCACAF Champions League, we see the end of a four-game winning streak, and we see the end of an 18-game unbeaten streak. But with the ending of everything comes the beginning of something new, so we need to get ready for what should be a fantastic May with a lot of home games.”
On atmosphere at JELD-WEN Field: “It’s fantastic, Portland should be proud of themselves and the players should be thrilled that they get to play in this environment every week.
REAL SALT LAKE DEFENDER CHRIS WINGERT
On playing tonight after Wednesday’s result: “It was difficult, but we still had chances to get a result. Didn’t make it happen, but we had a good response in the second half and we certainly had some chances.
“We just need to be a little bit sharper and not give up any chances. They got some momentum with the crowd but we still had the ball on their end. We could’ve been sharper with the ball and knocked it around a little bit more.”
On two tough losses in the same week: “It has been a really tough week, but I guess that’s just part of being a professional athlete. We’ve got to make sure the lows don’t get too low and keep plugging away.”
On a sense of urgency: “Urgency? Not anymore (this week) than any other week. Every week is urgent there are only  games and we’re looking to get a result every single week.”
On moving on from the loss: “Right now the only focus after today will be on Chivas USA.”
On the atmosphere at JELD-WEN Field: “The atmosphere is incredible; you’ve got to give credit to the fans. What a great spot and a great city, but that’s not why we lost; we’ve dealt with some hostile crowds lately. They did great and it’s great for the league, but it wasn’t why we didn’t win.”
PORTLAND TIMBERS FC HEAD COACH JOHN SPENCER
On the win: “I’d probably say it’s the toughest (win), that’s for sure. I think we showed after we scored — they pinned us back — and I felt we showed a lot of character after last week (a 3-0 loss to LA).”
On the defensive effort: “I think when they started piling on the pressure we got behind the ball and hung on a little bit. I think tonight we did a really professional job, we got one-nil up and managed the game.”
On beating a previously undefeated RSL side: “Just because we beat them tonight doesn’t mean we’re better than them. They’ve got championships to show for their quality. For us, we went out and they (the players) did everything asked of them tonight. Fantastic win and we are ready to come back on Tuesday and do the same.”
PORTLAND TIMBERS FC GOALKEEPER TROY PERKINS
On the win: “Getting three points at home is crucial and now if we can just carry this over to next week and when we go on the road we can do the same.”
On the clean sheet: “It was good, put a smile on my face. It’s still back down to Earth; we’ve got a game Tuesday and turn around and play Friday.”
On a better defensive performance: “We were organized and we believed that no matter what we were going to fight until the end. If a goal came, it came, but we weren’t going to give up. We’re going to fight and we’re not going to give in.”
On Real Salt Lake’s attack: “They’re a very dangerous team in the attack. They whip in some good balls from the sides. I think every chance they had was dangerous really, but I give credit to the guys in front of me, they dealt with it and made it easy for me.”
PORTLAND TIMBERS FC MIDFIELDER JACK JEWSBURY
On the play from midfield wings (Darlington Nagbe and Kalif Alhassan): “Both guys on the outside are very dynamic, very quick, great 1-v-1 players and that’s something we’re looking to do. Those guys are very dangerous on the attack.”
On tracking back in defense: “There’s going to be times in the game where you break down and lose the ball, but if we can get guys behind the ball and make it difficult on other teams — especially a great team like Real Salt Lake that is very dangerous on the attacking side of the ball — it’s going to be good and throughout the year it’s going to help us out.”
On correcting the mistakes from a 3-0 loss to LA: “I think the first 15 minutes we played well. We didn’t get the goal that we wanted, but at the end of the day we wanted to keep a clean sheet tonight and we knew if we did that, we’d give ourselves a chance. That’s a tough thing to do against a good Salt Lake side.”
PORTLAND TIMBERS MIDFIELDER DIEGO CHARA (through a translator)
On matching up with strong Real Salt Lake players: “Good, I was very calm with myself. I think the whole team did a great job.”
On playing with fellow Colombian and friend Jorge Perlaza: “It gives me piece of mind. Both of us help each other out on the field.”
On the Portland fans: “It is very different (than Colombia). Here there is more constant support throughout the game.”