REAL SALT LAKE DROPS MLS RESERVE LEAGUE HOME FINALE 0-1 TO CHICAGO FIRE
Goal by Kellen Gulley Dooms RSL Reserves to Seventh Loss of Season;
Midfielder Nelson González Returns from Broken Foot with 34-minute Stint off the Bench
LEHI, Utah (Sunday, October 9, 2011) – The visiting Chicago Fire (7-2-1, 22 pts.) secured the full three points against Real Salt Lake (2-7-0, 6 pts.) in MLS Reserve League play via a 1-0 victory this morning at XanGo Field, the result ending the season for the Central/Mountain Division champion “Men in Red.” The two teams played a back-and-forth affair before the Fire took control of the contest in the second half, the Utah side unable to hold off Chicago’s dangerous counter-attack until the end as Fire forward Kellen Gulley hit paydirt in the 75th minute for the game’s lone tally.
The teams played a scoreless first 45 minutes, highlighted by quality opportunities to open and close the half. Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Tim Melia was forced to make his only save of the opening stanza in the fifth minute on a strike from forward Aaron King. The Claret-and-Cobalt controlled much of the possession throughout the half but would have little to show in the shots department. The two sides did trade scoring chances in the closing moments, but a free kick opportunity by Chicago midfielder Baggio Husidic and a quick counter-attack finish RSL midfielder Nico Muñiz both went begging in the final minute before the break.
Part of Real Salt Lake’s roster turnover off the bench in the second half included midfielder Nelson González, the Argentine making his return from a right foot fracture suffered in late July in the 56th minute. However, it was a Fire substitute that would make the final difference as Gulley, who entered for an injured Cristian Nazarit in the 49th minute, broke the scoreless deadlock with a quarter-hour left after racing onto a through ball at the top of the area. A hard-charging Melia was able to save the initial attempt, but the rebound continued towards goal, and Gulley ushered the ball into the back of the net to put the visitors on top. Melia would keep the game within reach for RSL by denying King on another breakaway opportunity in the 83rd minute, just moments before another King scoring chance from the left side of the area deflected off the near post.
RSL’s roster on the day featured plenty of youth, as the RSL Technical Staff was able to get long looks at the 18-year-old Muñiz (73 minutes) and former RSL-Arizona Academy teammate Julio Alarcon (90 mins.) at right back, while another Academy product, Jordan Allen, played 17 minutes off the bench. In addition, the 17-year-old Gil put in a nearly hour-long stint in midfield before yielding to González, 19-year-old Donny Toia started and got an hour-long run in at outside back, and 21-year-old striker Chris Agorsor – who made his MLS debut Thursday night at Vancouver – entered for the final 36 minutes, staving off worries regarding a left hamstring strain suffered against Whitecaps FC.
Real Salt Lake will look to end its struggling campaign on a positive note this Saturday, Oct. 15 against its Rocky Mountain Cup rival, the Colorado Rapids (3-5-1, 10 pts.), at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
2011 MLS RESERVE LEAGUE – CENTRAL/MOUNTAIN DIVISION
REAL SALT LAKE 0 : 1 CHICAGO FIRE
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 9, 2011
XANGO FIELD – LEHI, UTAH
Goals by Period 1 2 F
Real Salt Lake (2-7-0, 6pts.) 0 0 0
Chicago Fire (7-2-1, 22 pts.) 0 1 1
CHI – Kellen Gulley (unassisted) 75
CHI – Yamith Cuesta (caution; Reckless Tackle) 7
RSL – Julio Alarcon (caution; Reckless Tackle) 62
CHI – Pari Pantazopoulos (caution; Reckless Tackle) 63
Real Salt Lake Reserves – Tim Melia; ^Julio Alarcon, Chris Schuler, Rauwshan McKenzie, Donny Toia (Blake Wagner 59’); Nico Muñiz (^Jordan Allen 73), Yordany Alvarez, Collen Warner, Luis Gil (Nelson González 56’); Cody Arnoux (Chris Agorsor 54’), Paulo Jr.
Substitutes Not Used: Kyle Reynish.
Chicago Fire Reserves – Jon Conway (Alex Dufty 46’); Pari Pantazopoulos, Yamith Cuesta, Kwame Watson-Siriboe; Baggio Husidic, Corben Bone, Mike Videira, Victor Pineda, Mike Banner (#Colin Audley 51’); Cristian Nazarit (Kellen Gulley 49’), #Aaron King.
Substitutes Not Used: None
^ - Denotes RSL-Arizona Academy player
#= Denotes guest player
Referee: Tyler Ploeger
Weather: Sunny, 44 degrees
All Statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial