REAL SALT LAKE DOMINATES COLORADO IN 2-0 VICTORY
Goals by Alvaro Saborio & Fabian Espindola Set the Tone in Thorough Result for RSL in Subaru Rocky Mountain Cup Opener
SANDY, Utah (Saturday, April 7, 2012) – After a lackluster performance during a mid-week win over Montreal, Real Salt Lake made amends to its home crowd tonight by turning in a comprehensive 2-0 victory over the rival Colorado Rapids in front of 16,870 fans in the 2012 Subaru Rocky Mountain Cup opener at Rio Tinto Stadium.
FW Álvaro Saborío opened the scoring in the 20th minute for the home side, deftly chesting down DF Tony Beltran’s cross from the right flank before slamming his shot from 12 yards out past Rapids ‘keeper Matt Pickens.
Controversy surrounded Real Salt Lake’s second goal in the 57th minute when FW Fabian Espíndola appeared to have taken down MF Luis Gil’s lengthy ball over the top of the Rapids backline with an extended arm, but the Argentine striker finished the play ruthlessly, slotting past Pickens to double the RSL advantage.
RSL netminder Nick Rimando was rarely tested en route to his third shutout of 2012, being forced into a single save during the Utah’s side’s third win on the campaign. With the three points Real Salt Lake closed out a perfect three-for-three week and kept its lead in the Western Conference at three points over the surprising San Jose Earthquakes.
Real Salt Lake Match Notes
- With tonight’s thorough three-point result, Real Salt Lake evened the all-time series against Colorado at 8-8-7 and brought its current undefeated streak against the Rapids to seven games (3-0-4). Tonight’s match marked the first of three 2012 Subaru Rocky Mountain Cup meetings between the rivals, with RSL able to wrap up a sixth consecutive win in the rivalry series during their next meeting, also in Sandy, on July 21. The third and final match will take place two weeks later at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on August 4.
- The second goal of the match by Real Salt Lake FW Fabian Espíndola allowed the Argentine striker to claim a share of club history, as his 29th goal in regular season play gave him a share of RSL’s all-time lead in the category alongside Robbie Findley. Espíndola, who now has three goals on the season, achieved the record-tying mark in 101 games, while Findley reached 29 goals in 96 career games.
- Tonight marked the end of a tough three-game, eight day stretch for RSL, the 25th in the team’s eight seasons of play. After claiming wins against Portland, Montreal and Colorado, this marks just the second time in those 25 runs that RSL claimed a full nine-point week, along with a similar run in September of 2010 [4-1 W v. TOR on 9/14 (CCL), 1-0 W v. CHI on 9/18 (MLS) and 3-2 @ Aribe Unido on 9/22 (CCL)].
- Tonight’s clean sheet for RSL and goalkeeper Nick Rimando marked the third “zero” in four home games in 2012. The Utah side has kept Colorado off the scoreboard for the last 310 minutes in Rocky Mountain Cup play, the Rapids’ last goal coming four meetings ago when Conor Casey scored in the 50th minute of an eventual 2-2 draw in October 2010. Today’s win and shutout upped Rimando’s impressive career numbers in the categories to 126 and 90, respectively.
- Tonight’s match saw FW Álvaro Saborío notch his second goal of the 2012 MLS season – and his second in a week, following on the heels of his PK conversion in last weekend’s 3-2 win at Portland. The Costa Rican international now has 36 goals in 66 games across all competitions, with 25 of those coming in regular season play.
- Saborío’s match-winner was assisted by DF Tony Beltran, breaking a streak of 26 regular season games without a helper. And Beltran wasn’t done there, as the fifth-year defender made tonight his first two-assist game by collecting the secondary assist on Espindola’s 57th minute tally. Beltran’s last assist came back on March 19, 2011, when he recorded the secondary assist on Kyle Beckerman’s tally in RSL’s 1-0 season opening win at San Jose.
- Espindola’s record-tying tally was assisted by MF Luis Gil, marking the 18-year-old’s first MLS assist in his 31st league appearance. Although originally scheduled to attend the U.S. U-20 Men’s National Team training camp in Portland next week, due to the injuries suffered mid-week by fellow midfielders MF Ned Grabavoy (L rib cage dislocation) and MF Javier Morales (R hamstring strain), Gil will now stay with his RSL teammates in order to be available for next weekend’s high-profile clash at Sporting Kansas City. Gil has started all six of RSL’s contests to begin the 2012 regular season.
- Tonight’s match saw the MLS debut of FW Emiliano Bonfigli, the Argentine striker and 2012 MLS Supplemental Draft selection replacing his fellow countryman Espindola in second half stoppage time.
- RSL now has 13 goals on the season from eight different sources through its first six games. Espindola’s third of the season pushed him into a fifth-place tie on the League’s scoring chart, as he tries to keep pace with the Red Bulls’ dynamic duo of Thierry Henry (7) and Kenny Cooper (6).
- This match marked the absence of Javier Morales due to a hamstring injury suffered late in Wednesday’s match against Montreal. Since Morales arrived on the Wasatch Front in 2007, Real Salt Lake has played 52 MLS regular-season/playoff, CCL or Open Cup games without its playmaker, posting a 23-16-14 overall mark (only 7-12-5 away from home).
- This match saw the return and start of rookie MF Sebastian Velasquez into not only the gameday roster, but in the starting XI. With the recent returns of midfielders Javier Morales, Will Johnson and Jonny Steele to full health, the 2012 MLS SuperDraft selection has been left off the gameday sheet in RSL’s last two contests, this after the 2012 SuperDraft selection started the squad’s first three games of 2012.
- Real Salt Lake’s next match next Saturday, April 14 at Sporting Kansas City (5-0-0, 15 pts.) will mark an early-season showdown of conference leaders at LIVEstrong Sporting Park. Kickoff in Kansas is set for 6:30 p.m. MT, while CW30’s pre-game coverage will start a half-hour earlier at 6:00 p.m. Fans can also follow the action live on RSL’s official radio partners – ESPN 700/ESPN700Sports.com (pre-game at 5:30 p.m.) and La Gran D 102.3 FM.
REAL SALT LAKE 2 : 0 COLORADO RAPIDS
SATURDAY, APRIL 7, 2012
RIO TINTO STADIUM – SANDY, UTAH
Goals by Period 1 2 F
Real Salt Lake 1 1 2
Colorado Rapids 0 0 0
RSL – Álvaro Saborío 2 (Tony Beltran 1) 20
RSL – Fabian Espíndola 3 (Luis Gil 1, Tony Beltran 2) 57
COL – Matt Pickens (caution, Dissent) 58
RSL – Kyle Beckerman (caution, Unsporting Behavior) 74
RSL – Jamison Olave (caution, Reckless Foul) 74
COL – Drew Moor (caution, Unsporting Behavior) 81
RSL – Luis Gil (caution, Unsporting Behavior) 81
Real Salt Lake (4-1-3-2) -- Nick Rimando; Tony Beltran, Jamison Olave, Nat Borchers, Chris Wingert; Kyle Beckerman (c); Will Johnson, Luis Gil (Yordany Alvarez 82), Sebastian Velasquez (Jonny Steele 59); Fabian Espíndola (Emiliano Bonfigli 92+), Álvaro Saborío
Substitutes Not Used: Kyle Reynish (GK), Paulo Junior, Terukazu Tanaka, Chris Schuler
Colorado Rapids (4-3-3) – Matt Pickens; Kosuke Kimura (Tony Cascio 60), Tyrone Marshall, Marvell Wynne, Luis Zapara; Martin Rivero, Drew Moor (c), Jeff Larentowicz; Brian Mullen, Omar Cummings, Jaime Castrillon (Kamani Hill 76)
Substitutes Not Used: Stewart Ceus (GK), Hunter Freeman, Joseph Nane, Scott Palguta, Wells Thompson
Referee: Jair Marrufo
Referee's Assistants: Eric Boria, C.J. Morgante
4th Official: Fotis Bazakos
Time of Game: 1:57
Weather: Cloudy and 57 degrees