CHESTER, Pa. (Friday, Aug. 24, 2012) – Real Salt Lake (13-10-4, 43 points, West #2) picked up a valuable road point on Friday night, playing the Philadelphia Union to a 0-0 draw at PPL Park to end the team’s three-game MLS losing streak.
RSL GK Nick Rimando and the 11-man commitment to defense produced the Claret-and-Cobalt's second clean sheet in as many games this week, with tonight’s 0-0 scoreline coming on the heels of Tuesday’s 2-0 home win over Tauro FC in CONCACAF Champions League play. Tonight's clean sheet was Rimando's 60th since he joined RSL in 2007 and the 96th of his illustrious MLS career, second only to FC Dallas GK Kevin Hartman in the league record books.
RSL started the game in a much different shape than usual, eschewing the preferred 4-4-2 diamond formation for a 4-1-4-1, with FW Álvaro Saborío playing as a lone striker and MF’s Javier Morales and Luis Gil playing in front of fellow MF’s Will Johnson and Ned Grabavoy. Captain Kyle Beckerman inhabited his usual defensive midfielder role, with DF’s Chris Wingert, Nat Borchers, Kwame Watson-Siriboe and Tony Beltran slotting in ahead of Rimando.
Real Salt Lake got off to a bright start in its new setup, registering a pair of shots – including one on goal – in the opening three minutes. Unfortunately for RSL, that was it for the first half. The Utah side – perhaps a bit fatigued while playing its third game in the last six days – was slow and sloppy in the opening frame, struggling to complete passes throughout the first 45.
Philadelphia wasn’t much better, though they did register the best chance of the half in the 42nd minute. Union MF Michael Farfan picked up a loose ball in the middle of RSL’s third, playing a square ball to MF Danny Cruz at the penalty spot only for Cruz to sky his first-time shot over the bar.
Cruz had another chance 10 minutes into the second half. The newest member of the Union, Cruz curled a corner kick from the right side toward goal, forcing RSL’s Grabavoy into an unusual headed goal-line clearance at the near post.
The game opened up a little bit in the final 15 minutes. RSL had a half chance in the 79th minute, when Morales ran onto a flicked header in the middle of Philadelphia’s final third before hitting a slow left-footer at Union GK Zac MacMath from 20 yards.
Real Salt Lake had another chance in the 85th. Beckerman picked out substitute MF Jonny Steele with a great long ball down the middle, allowing Steele to collect in the left side of the box. The Northern Irishman beat MacMath to the ball, but couldn’t quite get it under his foot, failing to shoot or pick out the onrushing Saborío with a back pass.
Philadelphia had one final chance in the 91st minute. A Union player got on the end of a free kick at the right post, hitting a right-footed volley from close-range that Watson-Siriboe did well to clear off the line.
Real Salt Lake returns to action next Saturday, when they’ll take on D.C. United at Rio Tinto Stadium, the first of five MLS & CCL games in September, and one of only two at home (Sat., Sept. 22 v Portland Timbers FC on NBC Sports Network).
Real Salt Lake Match Notes – RSL 0-PHI 0
- RSL’s MLS road record currently sits at 4-6-3 (15 points), just four shy of the club-record away points haul of 19, set in 2010 and equaled in 2011 … RSL’s last win on the road came at Chivas USA 3-0 at the Home Depot Center on June 16 – a span of five games … RSL opened the 2008 season with five consecutive road losses, the longest road losing drought in the Jason Kreis era.
- FW Fabian Espindola was not included in Friday’s gameday 18-man roster due to fatigue and slight adductor tightness … Meanwhile, DF Chris Schuler appeared in Friday’s 18 – his first time on the gameday roster since 70 minutes off the bench at left back in RSL’s 1-0 win at Seattle on May 12 … Schuler, who returned to practice last week, had been out with a bone stress response in his left foot.
- DF Jamison Olave is close to returning from a hamstring injury suffered on July 31 at Herediano. When Olave doesn’t start; RSL has gone 1-8-3 in the last 12 MLS games Olave has missed, according to Peter Hirdt at the Elias Sports Bureau (1-5-3 this year) … The last time RSL won on the road without the Colombian 2010/11 MLS All-Star Olave was April 9, 2011 in a 2-0 win at NE (a repeat of the prior trip’s 1-0 win at SJ to open the 2011 season).
- RSL’s next game is on Saturday, Sept. 1, when the Claret-and-Cobalt host D.C. United at Rio Tinto Stadium in the team’s penultimate match against the Eastern Conference of 2012. Thus far, RSL has a 4-2-2 mark against teams from the East, with a trip to Houston during the September FIFA window on Thursday, Sept. 6 to face the Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium for the first time.
REAL SALT LAKE 0–PHILADELPHIA UNION 0
FRIDAY, AUGUST 24, 2012
Goals by Period 1 2 F
Real Salt Lake 0 0 0
Philadelphia Union 0 0 0
Scoring Summary: No goals scored
Misconduct Summary: RSL – Chris Wingert (Foul) – 58’
PHI – Michael Farfan (Violent Conduct) – 59’
Real Salt Lake (4-1-4-1) – Nick Rimando; Chris Wingert, Kwame Watson-Siriboe, Nat Borchers, Tony Beltran; Kyle Beckerman (C); Ned Grabavoy (Yordany Alvarez, 74’), Will Johnson, Luis Gil (Jonny Steele, 62’), Javier Morales (Paulo Jr., 86’); Alvaro Saborio
Substitutes Not Used: Kyle Reynish (GK), Sebastian Velasquez, Chris Schuler, Justin Braun
Philadelphia Union (4-2-3-1) – Zac MacMath; Gabriel Farfan, Carlos Valdes (C), Amobi Okugo, Raymon Gaddis; Gabriel Gomez (Freddy Adu, 82’), Brian Carroll; Michael Lahoud, Michael Farfan, Danny Cruz (Antoine Hoppenot, 71’); Jack McInerney
Substitutes Not Used: Chase Harrison (GK), Josue Martinez, Chris Albright, Keon Daniel, Porfirio Lopez
Referee: Jair Marrufo
Referee's Assistants: George Gansner, Scott Kachmarek
4th Official: Hilario Grajeda
Time of Game: 1:53
Weather: 86 degrees & humid