CARSON, Calif. – Real Salt Lake fell 1-0 on Thursday at Western Conference foe Chivas USA in a preseason friendly at a StubHub Center training field.
RSL boss Jeff Cassar on Thursday welcomed the return of U.S. Men’s National Team January camp standouts Kyle Beckerman and Nick Rimando, as well as veteran leaders Nat Borchers, Ned Grabavoy and Alvaro Saborio, all of whom sat out last weekend’s 1-1 draw against UC-Irvine.
RSL fell behind early against Chivas, as 34-year old Mexican legend FW “Bofo” Bautista curled home a scintillating free kick from just outside the box following a late step and resultant foul from young Claret-and-Cobalt DF Carlos Salcedo. While Rimando had little chance to stop the pinpoint offering, the elite MLS ‘keeper was a vocal organizer in back, with RSL exerting its possession-style on the game for 20 minutes after falling behind.
Argentine maestro MF Javier Morales again combined well with speedster Joao Plata up top in the first stanza, with Beckerman and Grabavoy, DF Chris Wingert and rookie DF Ryan Neil, MF Sebastian Velasquez and FW Devon Sandoval all taking turns on the attack. Plata wreaked particular havoc on the Chivas backline, with former RSL backup GK Tim Melia stoning the diminutive forward on multiple occasions, saving a Velasquez volley from point-blank range and denying Sandoval on a couple of opportunities, in addition to seeing “Big Dev” have a goal called back on an offside chance.
Wholesale changes came at the 46-minute mark, with GK Jeff Attinella moving into goal and DF Aaron Maund moving into a center back slot alongside Wingert, replacing Salcedo. DF Abdoulie Mansally manned the left back space with draftee DF/MF Joey Dillon on the right. MF Cole Grossman was inserted at holding mid, MF Jordan Allen on the left side of diamond opposite Velasquez, and trialist MF Dylan Mares moving atop the diamond. Saborio and FW Olmes Garcia paired up top.
This group took time to find its rhythm, but put on a frantic show in the final 20 minutes, with Saborio often checking back to win balls and create space for Garcia, and the homegrown Allen mixing it up with Chivas’ MF Oswaldo Minda, DF Bobby Burling and DF Carlos Bocanegra to win second balls and create chances. Mansally pushed forward often down the line, while Dillon and Mares sought to combine with those more familiar with the system.
Real Salt Lake returned to Salt Lake City on Thursday night, and will remain in Utah through the weekend. The Claret-and-Cobalt will host its annual Open House at Rio Tinto Stadium from 1-4 p.m. on Saturday, with Cassar and Borchers scheduled to appear for Q+A sessions with fans at 2:00 and 3:30 p.m., respectively.
RSL will travel on Monday to Arizona for the Desert Diamond Cup hosted by FC Tucson, with four games in two weeks culminating on March 1. This will be Real Salt Lake’s third-consecutive year in the round-robin competition, which will also include fellow MLS clubs Chicago Fire, Chivas USA, Colorado Rapids and New England Revolution, along with USL Premier Development League club FC Tucson.
The FC Tucson Desert Diamond Cup will begin on Wednesday, Feb. 19 and will conclude with the Championship, 3rd-Place and 5th-Place matches on Saturday, March 1. A full schedule and ticketing information for all of the 2014 MLS Preseason games in Tucson can be found at www.FCTucson.com.
Following the FC Tucson Desert Diamond Cup, RSL will return to Utah to begin preparations for its MLS season opener on Saturday, March 8 at LA Galaxy. Following the opener at the Galaxy, RSL will travel up the California coast to take on San Jose Earthquakes at Buck Shaw Stadium on Saturday, March 15. The Claret-and-Cobalt will open its 2014 home schedule on Saturday, March 22, when it will host the Galaxy at 2:00 p.m. MT at Rio Tinto Stadium in a nationally televised game on NBC Sports Network. Click here for Real Salt Lake’s full 2014 MLS regular season schedule.
RSL Head Coach Jeff Cassar
On the 10-day California stint:
“I feel very positive about our direction, and what we accomplished here in Southern California. It’s a long season – nobody knows that better than us after last year – and we need to pace ourselves a bit. Obviously the level rises when you get guys like Nicky Rimando, our Captain Kyle Beckerman and Luis Gil into the group after the month they had with the national team.”
“I’m happy we created a ton of chances today against Chivas; when we get a little fitter, we will be that much sharper, and those chances will result in goals. Still working a bit on our defensive posture, but that second-nature knowledge of who should be where on either side of the ball will come.”
On the injured pieces missing from the picture:
“We are making progress on the health front, I’m excited to get guys we know we will depend on like Beltran and Schuler, among others, re-inserted to the group when we get to Tucson next week. I’m excited to see those guys and Stertzer and Balchan and Kwame work together with our healthier guys, to see them prepare together for the Tucson matches.”
On the Desert Diamond Cup:
“So excited about the competition we will face down in Tucson, getting our group into the rhythm of playing games. FC Tucson has invited us for a third straight year, we’ve see the tourney grow, hopefully we’ve helped them grow a bit, excited to see good crowds and their new stadium.”
“Tucson is also a place the guys enjoy during their down time, good place for all the new and old faces to bond as a group. It’s a well-run tourney, we couldn’t ask for better in our preseason preparation as we look forward to March 8 at Los Angeles.”
RSL GM Garth Lagerwey
On Saturday’s Rio Tinto Stadium Open House:
“Really looking forward to having our fans, people who are wondering about the 2014 season to come out this weekend and hear from Jeff Cassar, our new, charismatic head coach and one of our veterans, Nat Borchers. It will be great to have a chance to ask them questions, go face-to-face with them and see and hear the vision that this group has for our 10th season.”
On where the team is at on Feb. 13:
“Now is not the time of year to be concerned about results; would we like to win every time out, sure, that’s the goal once games matter. But there are so many other details we concentrate on as we integrate new faces, rehab injuries, fine-tune the guys that have built this organization. We are definitely headed in the right direction.”
REAL SALT LAKE 0-1 CHIVAS USA
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 13, 2014
STUBHUB CENTER FIELD 4
Goals by Period 1 2 F
Chivas USA 1 0 1
Real Salt Lake 0 0 0
CHV – Bofo Bautista – 11
REAL SALT LAKE PRESEASON ROSTER, VIDEO, ETC.
Please visit http://www.realsaltlake.com/preseason-central for all the team’s up-to-date preseason information, including a PDF copy of Real Salt Lake’s roster for each leg, as well as video vignettes behind-the-scenes, Q&A sessions with the players, etc.
REAL SALT LAKE 2014 SEASON TICKETS AVAILABLE NOW
The only way to currently secure tickets to any of Real Salt Lake’s 17 regular season home games is to Join the Pride and become a 2014 RSL Season Ticket Holder. RSL fans can purchase 2014 season tickets at the Rio Tinto Stadium box office, online at www.realsaltlake.com/tickets/jointhepride or over the phone at 801-727-2700. Becoming a 2014 Season Ticket Holder guarantees the same seats for all MLS regular season home games and additional bonus games for a total of 20 home games. A full rundown of all the benefits included in the 2014 season ticket package can be found here.