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RSL Notes & Quotes - RSL 1 : 1 DAL


Utah Side’s Furious Comeback Falls Short in 2-3 Aggregate Series Loss to Dallas


SANDY, Utah (Saturday, November 6, 2010) – Real Salt Lake saw the defense of its MLS Cup crown end abruptly at Rio Tinto Stadium, as tonight’s 1-1 draw with FC Dallas in Leg Two of their Western Conference Semifinal Series gave Dallas a 3-2 advantage in the aggregate goals series. FC Dallas will now take on the victor of the Los Angeles Galaxy-Seattle Sounders FC series (LA leads 1-0 on aggregate), which concludes tomorrow at The Home Depot Center, while Real Salt Lake will begin a short offseason, its renewal of the 2010/11 edition of the CONCACAF Champions League picking up in late February against fellow MLS side Columbus Crew in the Quarterfinal Round.

The Claret-and-Cobalt would regret the late goal allowed in last Saturday’s Leg One even more this evening, as FC Dallas MF Dax McCarty’s tally would put the defending champs in a two-goal series hole after just 17 minutes. From there on out it was pretty much one-way traffic towards the FC Dallas area, but GK Kevin Hartman turned back nearly everything thrown at him by Real Salt Lake, making five saves on the night, including a pair of remarkable kick saves that left the home side shaking their heads.

Real Salt Lake would finally punch one past Hartman in the 79th minute, when FW Robbie Findley got on the end of DF Nat Borchers’ flick-on towards the right post to bring RSL to the brink of evening the series up. Despite having momentum finally on its side, the Utahans would fail to post the second tally that would push the match into added extra time, ensuring that a new champion of Major League Soccer will be crowned two weekends from now in Toronto.

Real Salt Lake Match Notes 

  • FW Robbie Findley’s goal was the striker’s fourth career playoff goal, boosting the lead he has in the category in RSL’s playoff record book.  
  • While its home undefeated streak was certainly not first and foremost on Real Salt Lake’s mind this evening, the 1-1 draw did push the squad’s run without a loss at Rio Tinto Stadium to 33 games across all competitions dating back to May 2009 (25 games in MLS regular season, three games in CONCACAF Champions League, two games in MLS Cup Playoffs, and three international exhibitions). 
  • The assist by MF Andy Williams was his second for Real Salt Lake in as many contests and the ninth in his MLS Cup Playoff career, pushing him out of a tie with Landon Donovan and into sole possession of seventh place in the category in MLS postseason annals (2-RSL, 1-CHI, 6-CLB). 
  • Tonight marked the postseason debut for a pair of RSL players – MF Collen Warner, who was the first player off Jason Kreis’ bench when he entered for DF Robbie Russell in the 56th minute, and FW Paulo Junior, who appeared for MF Ned Grabavoy in the 73rd minute.  






On the match:

“I’m real pleased with the effort from the guys.  I’m pleased at how much they put in to it and how much they continued to put in to it until the final whistle.  It made things really, really difficult on [FC Dallas] in the second half.  I felt like their goalkeeper was standing on his head and was the difference in the match, probably the difference in the series.”

On Robbie Findley’s goal:

“I’m pleased that Robbie Findley gets to end his season in a positive fashion; that he scores the goal that really pushes things along and adds a bit of a burst.  But I know that he’s just as disappointed as everyone else in the locker room.” 

On the series:

“In the last couple matches, we were a victim of our own expectations.  I really feel that in the Colorado match and these two Dallas matches … we were playing with this angst of, ‘What if we lose? What if we lose this series and don’t repeat as Champions?’ We expected more of ourselves, and that’s different than it ever has been here. In years past we’ve played with no fear—and I would say that’s the way [FC Dallas] is playing right now; there are no expectations on them.  We played a little tentatively and a little bit scared because we were nervous to lose, and I just don’t think you can ever be at your best when you’re a little bit nervous and a little bit scared.”

On the season overall:

“You can’t take away all the stuff that we did this season. Yes, we don’t have a chance to repeat as MLS Cup Champions, but my goodness, we’ve done so many incredible things this year and no one can ever take that away from us. The things that stand out to me are to play Cruz Azul home and away and beat them in that series—it was hugely important. 

“All of the contributions by how many players this year?  To watch the highlight DVD the other night and see almost 14 players on our team scored goals this year and contributed in such meaningful fashion. It was amazing just to see the way the guys bought into what we’re all about here, even the new guys.  I’m so thankful for all the things those guys have done every single day in training and every single match this year.”



Overall thoughts on the match:

“It is a hard one to take regardless, a real tough loss … It kind of reminds me of the New York loss [in the 2008 Western Conference Championship]. We had a lot of chances. [Kevin Hartman] was top notch and made a bunch of big time saves. Giving up that early goal ended up costing us.”

Thoughts on RSL’s approach:

“We came out very anxious, very excited, and we just went for it. We left ourselves a little bit exposed and we got punished for it.”

Thoughts on the difference between last year’s playoff run and this year:

“We can’t catch anybody by surprise. It was a different situation for us having to go on the road for the [first leg] instead of starting at home and being out in front. But the expectations were there and we came up short.”



On the match:

“Tonight I felt like we gave it our all and that’s all you can ask. We knew that it would come down to balls in the box and being able to finish and we just weren’t able to get that last goal to tie things up.”



Thoughts on the match:

“It’s unfortunate that [FC Dallas] scored first. It changed the way we played. The first half we weren’t really connecting our passes and we were a couple of steps slower than FC Dallas in the first half. In the second half we started to settle things down and I think that 80% of the second half was played in their half and we just couldn’t put it away.”

On the added pressure heading into tonight’s match:

“From the first leg we were already down [a goal] and you want to push and get that goal [in the second leg] first and we were at home. So, the pressure was on us and that’s it. [Kevin] Hartman had a great game tonight and I guess he saved the best for us.”



Overall thoughts on the match:

“It’s a great result for FC Dallas. As I said to the players, we have been training for nine months for this special game. We have been preparing ourselves and pushing ourselves. Even though it ended in a tie game, it’s a victory for [FC Dallas] to go to the Conference Championship.”

Thoughts on bringing pressure early:

“We started off on a level one defense and then we talked about going to a level two defense and using that 45 yards of space for a counter attack, and we had a couple of great one-on-one situations.”

Thoughts on the team’s effort:

“A great goal from Dax [McCarty] going through as the central midfielder. I am really pleased and proud of the boys for sticking to the plan and keeping their composure.”



Overall thoughts on the match:

“I think we did well to get the early goal and it made it a little more difficult for us when we had to defend, but when we did get the ball we were able to attack and put [Real Salt Lake] under pressure because they put so many numbers forward. I thought everybody came up with plays when we needed to come up with plays.”

Thoughts on eliminating the defending MLS Cup Champions:

“I think to eliminate a team like Real Salt Lake that you have so much respect for really allows you to have confidence going forward. They have a great group of players and a great coaching staff. I think that our ability to come here [to Rio Tinto Stadium] and do what we needed to do so that we could move on is something that we are pretty proud of at this point.”

Thoughts on moving forward in the playoffs:

“I think that there is a level of confidence, but I also think there is a level of responsibility. When you beat a team out like that and they had all their hopes and ambitions and aspirations to go on, now we take that burden and we hope that we are able to do the things that [Real Salt Lake] wanted to do. I think there is a belief in this locker room and a belief in each other that we can get it done and so we look forward to the game tomorrow night [between the L.A. Galaxy and Seattle Sounders FC] to see who we will be playing next week.”



Overall thoughts on the match:

“We have a lot of heart on this team. We executed the game plan pretty well. They had a couple of good chances and Kevin Hartman came up absolutely huge for us. To beat the defending champions and advance, it’s fantastic.”

On the exhausting nature of the match:

“I am pretty exhausted. In the second half you really start to feel the altitude and you start to feel the pressure that [Real Salt Lake] puts on you. For the final 20 or 30 minutes it feels like they are playing with 13 or 14 guys.”

On his 17th minute goal:

“We had the ball on the left side and I saw David [Ferreira] break free a little bit. I saw that their centerback was out of position and just made a run forward. I think he was trying to play the ball to me and David over-hit the ball a little bit. Luckily it had a pretty big bounce and Brek [Shea] had the height advantage on the defender and he put the ball perfectly in my path and I was fortunate to get a good touch with my head and finish it past [Nick] Rimando.”


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