VALIANT NINE-MAN REAL SALT LAKE FALLS 1-3 AT SAN JOSE
Espindola, Olave Suffer Red Card Decisions;
Beckerman Equalizer Holds Up Until 2nd-Half Stoppage
SANTA CLARA, CA (Saturday, April 21, 2012) – Real Salt Lake (5-3-0, 15 points, West #2) dropped its second consecutive game Saturday night, as a pair of controversial red-card decisions by referee Elias Bazakos doomed the Claret-and-Cobalt to a 1-3 loss against the San Jose Earthquakes (5-1-1, 16 points, West #1), who moved atop the Western Conference standings with tonight’s result, one point ahead of RSL.
Facing the prospects of a three-game week for the second time in this young 2012 MLS season, RSL Head Coach Jason Kreis made two changes to the team that dropped an 0-1 decision a week ago at Kansas City, welcoming back talismanic playmaker Javier Morales to the lineup for the first time in 17 days, with first-year MF Jonny Steele penciled into the selection for only the second occasion this year.
In a choppy first half that saw the Earthquakes come out with more energy than an unusually flat RSL, San Jose outshot RSL 9-4, testing the resolve of RSL GK Nick Rimando and the veteran backline of Tony Beltran, Jamison Olave, Nat Borchers and Chris Wingert – a group that has played more than 6,000 minutes together since 2008.
Rimando – appearing in his 151st RSL game, all starts – kept San Jose off the scoreboard despite the ‘Quakes’ onslaught until the waning seconds of the first half, when Khari Stephenson headed the ball off the outstretched fingers of Rimando, the topspin landing the ball in the net for the 1-0 home-side lead at the break.
San Jose played the final 16 minutes – plus the two minutes of added time – of the first stanza with a man-advantage, as RSL FW Fabian Espindola saw a straight red card after leaving both feet to enter a 50-50 challenge with Earthquakes’ MF Sam Cronin at midfield. The ejection marked the third of Espindola’s career with RSL.
Eight minutes into the second half, RSL Captain Kyle Beckerman knotted things up at 1-1, scoring the short-handed equalizer following a feed from Steele and a dummy feint from FW Alvaro Saborio before a slalom run through the San Jose defense for his second goal of the season.
Just 16 minutes after the Beckerman equalizer, as RSL continued to absorb pressure from San Jose’s 11-on-10 attack, Olave was adjudged by Bozakos to have denied a goal-scoring opportunity by SJ FW Steven Lenhart and was subsequently ejected, resulting in the second red card of the game for RSL and reducing Kreis’ team to nine men for the first time in the eight-year organization’s 226-game MLS history, and 276 games overall (including MLS postseason matches, CONCACAF Champions League games, Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and exhibition matches). Television replays show that Lenhart actually dragged Olave down by his shorts, as the Colombian defender absorbed the contact initiated by the San Jose forward, who was carrying a yellow card at the time.
Ultimately, the valiant nine-man RSL side held firm for the final 21 minutes of the match, until the full-strength San Jose side was emboldened by a lengthy six minutes of added time, which saw Simon Dawkins and Chris Wondolowski score to give Earthquakes’ Head Coach Frank Yallop his 100th career win. The Wondolowski score was his first-ever tally against RSL, leaving Houston as the only MLS team that the prolific Golden Boot winner has not yet scored against.
Real Salt Lake Match Notes
- Real Salt Lake had scored nine consecutive goals against San Jose dating back to the teams’ 1-1 draw in May, 2009 prior to Stevenson’s goal in the 47+ minute of the first half. RSL is now 3-2-2 at Buck Shaw Stadium in MLS and U.S. Open Cup play since San Jose returned to MLS in 2008, and has won or tied 12 of the last 17 overall matches between the sides. San Jose visits Rio Tinto Stadium on June 23, with RSL returning to Buck Shaw for the third and final regular-season contest on July 14.
- The ejection of FW Fabian Espindola in the 29th minute was the first red card seen by RSL since last September 28, when MF and Captain Kyle Beckerman was sent off in the 10th minute in a home game against Chicago, ultimately suffering an 0-3 loss. All-time, RSL has seen 38 red cards in seven-plus years of MLS play, posting a -14 goal difference and playing 948 minutes at a disadvantage.
- Tonight’s affair kicked off a three-game stretch for RSL, as the team seeks its first-ever win in Dallas – and its first-ever win in the state of Texas – Wednesday night at FC Dallas Stadium in Frisco, prior to returning home next Saturday night to host Toronto FC. Kickoff at Dallas is set for 6:30 p.m. MT with the game televised live locally in HD on CW30; tickets for Saturday night’s home game against winless Toronto FC – seeking to avoid a league-record 0-7-0 winless streak to start the season – can be purchased at www.RealSaltLake.com or by calling (801) 727.2701.
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES 3 : 1 REAL SALT LAKE
SATURDAY, APRIL 21, 2012
BUCK SHAW STADIUM – SAN JOSE, CA
Goals by Period 1 2 F
San Jose Earthquakes 1 2 3
Real Salt Lake 0 1 1
SJ – Khari Stevenson (Beitashour) 47+
RSL – Kyle Beckerman (Steele) 53
SJ – Simon Dawkins (Beitashour) 92+
SJ – Chris Wondolowski (Stevenson, Moreno) 93+
SJ – Tressor Moreno (caution, foul) 22
RSL – Fabian Espindola (ejection, foul) 29
RSL – Kyle Beckerman (caution, time wasting) 42
SJ – Simon Dawkins (caution, foul) 44
RSL – Javier Morales (caution, dissent) 47
RSL – Alvaro Saborio (caution, foul) 60
SJ – Steven Lenhart (caution, foul) 68
RSL – Jamison Olave (ejection, Denying a scoring opportunity) 69
San Jose Earthquakes (4-4-1-1) – Jon Busch; Steven Beitashour, Ike Opara (Alan Gordon 75), Jason Hernandez, Justin Morrow; Rafael Baca (Sam Garza 82), Sam Cronin (Steven Lenhart 61), Tressor Moreno, Simon Dawkins; Khari Stevenson, Chris Wondolowski
Substitutes Not Used: David Bingham (GK), Sercan Guvenisik, Jean-Marc Alexandre, Brad Ring
Real Salt Lake (4-1-2-1-2) -- Nick Rimando; Tony Beltran (Paulo Junior 93+), Jamison Olave, Nat Borchers, Chris Wingert; Kyle Beckerman (c); Jonny Steele (Luis Gil 60), Will Johnson, Javier Morales (Chris Schuler 77); Fabian Espindola, Álvaro Saborío
Substitutes Not Used: Kyle Reynish (GK), Yordany Alvarez, Sebastian Velasquez, Emiliano Bonfigli
Referee: Elias Bazakos
Referee's Assistants: Chris Strickland, Corey Parker
4th Official: Terry Vaughan
Attendance: 10,202 (sellout)
Time of Game: 2:02
Weather: Clear and 82 degrees