Preseason News

Real Salt Lake Uses 1-0 Win Over Seongnam FC as a Building Block

Real Salt Lake earned its second win of the preseason on Sunday in a 1-0 victory over South Korean side Seongnam FC.  It was a good test for RSL against a hard-working and disciplined side, with the difference coming in the 50th minute when Yura Movsisyan scored his first goal of preseason on a great buildup off a forced turnover in the midfield.

The play on the field was a big step forward for the Claret-and-Cobalt as the team builds towards a season that will open with a pair of crucial matches in the Quarterfinal Round of CONCACAF Champions League against Tigres from Mexico, starting with the first leg on February 24 in Monterrey and concluding March 2 at Rio Tinto Stadium.

Facing a different type of opponent in the preseason tilt was a good exercise for RSL as the team prepares to face a new and different opponent in the Champions League and Head Coach Jeff Cassar liked the challenge against Seongnam FC, who themselves reached the Club World Cup semifinals in 2010.

“They are very organized and methodical in the way that they play.  What I liked is the guys dealt with some of the things they threw at us, played as a group and played compact,” Cassar said.  “It’s just something to build on.  We’re going to have to continue to build on the defensive shape.  I really liked that performance about both groups.”

Cassar used most of the presumed starters in the second half of the match, but the group that played the first half utilized a lot of the principles that the team was focused on very well.  In addition to holding the defensive shape in the run of play and in transition, the first half group was also able to find players in channels behind the opposing defense.  With speedy players who thrive when they can run onto the ball, it was a principle that had come along slowly through the first three matches of preseason, but was executed well throughout the first half.

“I thought they were well-organized.  I thought they held the line of confrontation.  I thought the communication was good,” Cassar said.  “I saw some nice things offensively at times and overall I was pleased with both groups.  Obviously there are areas to improve on, but I liked that it was a more cohesive performance.”

In the second half, a quick strike from Movsisyan allowed RSL to breath.  In the buildup, Sunday Stephen Obayan forced the turnover and moved RSL into the attack quickly.  Juan Manuel Martinez held the ball just right of the 18-yard box and played it to Movsisyan in the box.  After Joao Plata dummied past, it created space for Movsisyan to receive the pass, turn and fire to score for the 1-0 lead.

That quick-transition strike was also missing from previous matches, but as the team builds cohesion and sharpness, it looks like they will come much more frequently, particularly with players as skilled as Movsisyan, Plata, Martinez and Javier Morales in the four attacking positions.

“We talk about getting the ball into the attack and the movements and choices that we make,” Cassar said.  “When they make nice combinations and nice movement off the ball, you get great things from great players.”

RSL will take on the New England Revolution in the next preseason match on Wednesday night at 8:30 p.m. MT.  The match will be streamed live on