LATE SABORÍO BRACE GIVES RSL 2-2 DRAW AT RAPIDS, KEEPS SUPPORTERS SHIELD HOPES ALIVE
Costa Rican International Scores in 91+’ & 95+’ to Draw RSL Even with L.A. Galaxy atop MLS Standings;
Opponent Still up in the Air for Upcoming Western Conference Semifinal Series
COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (Saturday, October 23, 2010) – Real Salt Lake saw its hopes for a first-ever MLS Supporters’ Shield title stay alive tonight at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park thanks to some late-game heroics by FW Álvaro Saborío, his brace in second half stoppage time salvaging a 2-2 draw for the defending MLS Cup champs.
With tonight’s crucial standings point, Real Salt Lake (15-4-11, 56 pts.) once again drew even with the Los Angeles Galaxy for the League’s top overall spot, meaning an FC Dallas win tomorrow evening over the Galaxy at The Home Depot Center (6:00 p.m. MT kickoff) would give the Utah side the regular season Supporters’ Shield crown courtesy of the second tie-breaker of overall goal differential (teams are even on first, head-to-head points tie-breaker).
Another unknown heading into tomorrow’s ultimate contest of the MLS regular season in Carson, Calif., is who Real Salt Lake will square off against in its upcoming Western Conference Semifinal Series that will kick off the 2010 MLS Cup Playoffs. A Galaxy loss tomorrow evening would give RSL the #1 seed and set up a marquee match-up against #4 Seattle Sounders FC, while a Galaxy win or draw puts RSL in with the #2 seed, thereby opening its title defense with another tough draw against #3 FC Dallas. The only thing about the series that is known is that Real Salt Lake will host the second leg of the series at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday, November 6 (time TBA); the date and time of Leg 1 of the series will be announced by Real Salt Lake and MLS on Sunday evening following the Galaxy-FC Dallas showdown.
Colorado would shoot out of the gates in tonight’s contest, and it took just 16 minutes for Rapids FW Omar Cummings to move the scoreboard, his one-touch redirect off a cross from the left by DF Anthony Wallace putting the home side up early. Not to be outdone by his strike-mate, FW Conor Casey added one of his own six minutes after the halftime break, his close-range header off a DF Kosuke Kimura cross seemingly wrapping up the result for the Rapids, especially as the half wore on and the visitors began to run out of time.
Despite struggling through one of its more disjointed efforts of the season, Real Salt Lake would be rewarded for playing the full 90 minutes thanks to the hustle of Saborío, who blocked GK Matt Pickens’ clearance at the beginning of stoppage time, the ball bouncing off the striker and then the crossbar before the Costa Rican slammed home the rebound to give the road side hope. Two minutes later, DF Jamison Olave was hauled down in the area by Rapids MF Brian Mullan as he tried to reach MF Javier Morales’ free kick as it looped towards the penalty spot. That’s where referee Ricardo Salazar pointed, and Saborío would make no mistake from there, placing his shot inside the right post and past Pickens to send the hundreds of Claret-and-Cobalt supporters in attendance into frenzy.
Real Salt Lake Match Notes
- Tonight’s draw kept a pair of streaks alive for Real Salt Lake, most notably the club-record 14-match undefeated streak in League play (6-0-8) the Utah side began with a 1-1 draw with Chivas USA back on July 24 at Rio Tinto Stadium (previous loss was 0-2 defeat at FC Dallas on July 17). Thanks to tonight’s last-second tie, Real Salt Lake responded to a 1-3-1 start to the campaign by closing with just a single loss across its final 25 contests (14-1-10).
- Also continuing tonight was RSL’s grip on the Rocky Mountain Cup, with the pair of draws in this year’s home-and-away series allowing Real Salt Lake to claim the trophy for its supporters for a fourth straight year, this marking the third-year of retention following an even series after the Utahans won it outright for the first time in 2007.
- Despite the rare pair of goals given up, Real Salt Lake still easily managed to finish the campaign with the best defensive effort in MLS regular season history, its 20 goals allowed besting the 2007 Houston Dynamo’s record of 23. Tonight marked only the second time in RSL’s last 26 contests in which it had allowed multiple goals (5th time this season).
- A large part of that record was due to RSL’s stout defensive play on the road, its 13 away goals allowed falling just one shy of equaling the MLS record of 12 set by D.C. United during its 2005 campaign.
- In addition to those League-wide records, Real Salt Lake also bested or evened numerous club records in 2010, finishing the season with 56 points (previous best of 40 in 2008 & 2009), 15 wins (11 in 2009), a +25 goal differential (+8 in 2009), 45 goals scored (tied w/ 45 from the 32-game season in 2006), 1.50 goals per game (1.43 in 2009), 15 shutouts (10 in 2009), 19 road points (15 in 2006), and a +1 road goal differential (-8 in 2006).
- With his 11th and 12th goals of the regular season, Álvaro Saborío not only easily wrapped up RSL’s 2010 Golden Boot award, but he also tied Robbie Findley’s 2009 campaign as the second-most prolific goal-scoring regular season by an RSL player, trailing only Jeff Cunningham’s 16-goal haul in 2006. The Costa Rican striker now has 18 goals in 32 appearances across all competitions for Real Salt Lake in 2010 (6 in CONCACAF Champions League play).
- The 2010 regular season campaign for GK Nick Rimando will not only go down as the greatest of his stellar 11-year MLS career, but one of the best in MLS history. The All-Star netminder’s 18 goals allowed in 27 League appearances this season gave him a 0.67 GAA, which smashed the previous single-season high of 0.82 set by Houston GK Pat Onstad in 2007; however, FC Dallas ‘keeper Kevin Hartman could reset the mark tomorrow, as he carries a 0.62 GAA into the Hoops’ season finale at Los Angeles. Rimando’s 14 clean sheets were also the second most in an MLS season, behind only Tony Meola’s 16 shutouts for the Kansas City Wizards in 2000, while RSL’s 15 total shutouts ranked behind only the 2000 Wizards’ 17 clean sheets
MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER QUOTE SHEET
COLORADO RAPIDS 2 : 2 REAL SALT LAKE
REAL SALT LAKE HEAD COACH JASON KREIS
On ending of game and penalty kick…
“You have to believe. I think when a defender has both of his arms around a player, and it is quite visible to everyone on the bench and is visible to everyone on the field as well, it is a foul. I give credit to the referee for calling what was clearly a penalty kick. He could have just as easily said that it was too late in the game and not make the call. We have had some wild finishes against us. There have been some situations when we have had that lead sometimes in this season. We were up by two goals in the 75th minute and the lead went back and forth between the 75th and the 90th minute. There all types of hectic happenings in this game.”
“I thought that we started out the game pretty brightly. We moved the ball pretty well and got into the attacking third with relative and ease and created a few half chances here and there. I was concerned because I felt that our defensive effort was not there. We have recognized all season long that the way we try to play is very difficult. It takes an extreme amount of work, concentration, focus and if we are not quite there, if we are half a yard off, we will be punished for it. Credit to Colorado, as they did that.
“I was looking at the game towards the end of the match thinking that this was exactly what we needed. To take the loss, but then we come out and get a draw. That feels good too. As long as our guys take the responsibility and accountability for the fact that we knew that that was not good enough. That was an unbelievably emotional affair for us and those guys put a lot energy in there tonight.”
REAL SALT LAKE DEFENDER NAT BORCHERS
“I don’t believe that we came out with enough energy tonight. They came out to battle. They played well in the midfield, we lost the ball a lot. Throughout the entire game in parts of the field we were sharp. It was easily one of our worse performances of the year. I don’t believe anyone is happy with it. Of course we got the tie, which I feel very fortunate about. They are a good team and I don’t believe that we responded very well to what they did to us and we have some things to work on this week. We have come three years in a row now and not played well.”
On Omar Cummings’ goal…
“It was a tough one, because Omar and Conor made a couple good runs in the box. The service was good from Anthony Wallace. We could have defended the cross better and also we need to stay with our marks in the box. I don’t think that we did that well enough. The ball came to the most dangerous striker in the league at this time, and he punished us for it.”
COLORADO RAPIDS HEAD COACH GARY SMITH
On the game…
“In a competitive game in the final seconds of what has been a very good display by our group the referee finds a foul to be given when probably on 9 out of 10 occasions on corner kicks or free kicks there is a lot of bodily contact. All I can say is there was a lot of contact in the box, there’s going to be considering it is the 95th minute; it’s the last free kick of the game- there’s going to be. Now unless Brian has done something completely outrageous, which I can’t image, I find it a bit bizarre. The catalyst for their comeback was a freak goal. I told Matt (Pickens) that will never happen again in his career. All in all for 90 minutes we were not only the better team but I thought by a country mile. Anything that was created, we created. I thought we showed passion and determination and creativeness all rolled into one. But these games are 90 minutes plus and you have to be on your guard for however long it lasts. Today we paid the ultimate price for that.”
COLORADO RAPIDS DEFENDER KOSUKE KIMURA
On the game’s ending…
“Everything was going according to order, perfectly. Matt (Pickens) made a mistake but oh well. I don’t know what else we could have done. It’s not about how we played or what we didn’t do; it’s more like a physiological thing. Those guys believe they can come back. That’s why they have been playing good and won last year. They have that confidence. They know if they push it a little more they can get it.”
COLORADO RAPIDS MIDFIELDER BRIAN MULLAN
On the foul the resulted in the PK…
“I got elbowed right before the kick. It kind of shocked me. I just locked him (Kyle Beckerman) up. He just ran over me- fell down.”